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Finland for Thought » Everything in America is so damn cheap | Politics, current events, culture - In Finland & the United States | Blog of an American living in Finland

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21.6.2006

Everything in America is so damn cheap

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 6:41 pm

Everything in America is so damn cheap. Even without the strong euro vs. weak dollar, everything is still ridiculously inexpensive. Your money travels sooooo much further in the U.S. compared to Finland, I don’t think people understand how inexpensive everything is unless you’ve spent time here.

First off, there are sales everywhere. You are a fool if you pay full price for anything. I went to the grocery store and half the products I bought were on sale, many were half price. I went clothes shopping and virtually everything I bought was like half to two-thirds off. Go to places like TJMax, Marshalls, Kohl’s and buy name-brand clothes for a tiny fraction of the price. Even with the gas price tripling in the U.S., it’s still about a 1/3rd cheaper than Finland. Automobiles are virtually half the price. I rented an awesome Chevrolet HHR mini-SUV for $39/day (30 euros). Hotels start as low as $39/night. And if you don’t mind buying used goods, quality used stuff is almost given away for free. What’s great about low costs is that it benefits everybody, especially America’s poor, immigrants, young families, single mothers etc..

There’s no comparing making 20,000 euros a year in the U.S. versus making 20,000 euros a year in Finland – you’re so much better off in the states. Most all your necessities are much cheaper here. One exception is housing prices, but they’re high in Finland as well – the difference being, it’s easy as hell to get a nice loan in the U.S. Healthcare is a major factor though, 20,000e/year is nothing if you don’t have any healthcare. Imagine if the U.S. cut that military budget in half and spent the other half on healthcare! However, isn’t it amazing how millions of immigrants are flooding into the states each year even without the guarantee of healthcare?

chevy_hhr.jpg

  • Hege

    Sounds great. Enjoy while it lasts…

  • winter

    Phil

    This has been going on for 10-20 years now. The USA GDP grows at an astounding rate, and the European (Except Ireland) GDP is stagnant or dropping (Italy).

    It’s the difference between the two systems….. PERIOD.

    The USA rewards those who make money, by… gasp “Letting them keep most of it”… GASP.

    The welfare state punishes anyone who dares to make money. Whips and chains please.

    It’s the TAX rate dummy. Taking money out of an economy in the form of TAXES is the most EVIL thing a government can do.

  • gopha

    That’s the car you rented? Christ, i’ve taken shits that looked better.

    I sooo miss shopping in the States. I miss Old Navy, Best Buy and Walmart. :)

  • Quinn1981

    I’m not sure what hotel you stayed at, but it was probably full of body hair and body fluid stains.

  • SUPERinfer

    OH Crikey, such jeaaaalous people here…

    I’m on my way to New England and plan on shopping at discount stores as often as I can.

    :-P

  • http://www.finlandforthought.net Phil

    I’m not sure what hotel you stayed at, but it was probably full of body hair and body fluid stains.

    It had free WLAN. Of course it seems like all the hotels and motels have free WLAN in the states. The same Mexican ladies who clean the cheap motels clean the expensive places.

  • Anonymous

    Your money travels sooooo much further in the U.S. compared to Finland, I don’t think people understand how inexpensive everything is unless you’ve spent time here.

    The good side about Finland is that the clerks are actually able to live on their salaries and don’t have to sell crack to make ends meet.

    the difference being, it’s easy as hell to get a nice loan in the U.S.

    That sure is a great comfort when the bank forecloses on your ass.

    gopha:
    That’s the car you rented? Christ, i’ve taken shits that looked better.

    Whadya expect? Phil thinks that the PT Cruiser looks cool.

  • http://anzisblog.blogspot.com Anzi

    Of course it seems like all the hotels and motels have free WLAN in the states.

    See, that explains a lot. As I was making my way through my own personal Veronica Mars -marathon, I kept wondering about two things: a) How come the characters only need to whip out their laptops and be instantly connected on the internet even in the school toilets, and b) how come their laptops seem to be always turned on? I guess question a is answered now: The US has good WLAN coverage.

    That car is truly ugly. Wouldn’t be caught dead in it. Seriously. If a hearse like that would come to get me when the time comes, I’d get up and walk to the cemetary myself.

  • http://www.stockholmslender.blogspot.com/ mjr

    Hmm, lack of social mobility, high crime, worsening education system (for the under classes), bonkersly expensive healthcare system without universal coverage, mad imperial adventures financed by the Chinese communists, a string of domestic bubbles based on deficit finance. I think the wonderland might not look very shiny for long. A communist take on the US situation by the well known Marxist rag The Economist below:

    http://www.economist.com/world/na/displayStory.cfm?story_id=3518560

    (winter, as you probably won’t know – do you read anything at all, btw? – it’s not really a Marxist magazine, I was just being ironic like we European communists tend to do.)

    Anyway, I guess I should take a Phil break once again – this site makes intellectual inanity an artform (which confirms its bona fide libertarianism I suppose).

  • Jaakko

    Luckily in United States, all the rivers are made out of chocolate!

  • http://www.finlandforthought.net Phil

    From The Economist article..

    They compared the incomes of 2,749 father-and-son pairs from 1979 to 1998 and found that few sons had moved up the class ladder. Nearly 70% of the sons in 1998 had remained either at the same level or were doing worse than their fathers in 1979.

    Yup, white sons probably won’t do as well as their white fathers. But take a look at every other minority group in the U.S. Women, blacks, hispanics, immigrants….all doing much better than their parents did. Whites in the U.S. had it “too good” back in the day, things are finally evening out amongst all groups.

    And I guess it would be unfair to compare social mobility in Finland vs. U.S. using relative terms like “top fifth” and “bottom fifth” because the difference betweeen “top fifth” and “bottom fifth” in the U.S. is much much greater than in Finland. So moving from the bottom fifth to second fifth in Finland is nothing compared to that same move in the U.S.

  • tim73

    “Rob Parenteau, a global strategist for RCM and appearing at PrudentBear.com, writes “As of Q1 2006, the gap between household sector expenditure and income widened $100b to a nearly $700b deficit at an annualized rate.”… So, deftly, I divide that $700 billion income deficit by the 300 million people in the USA, and it means that very man, woman and child in America spent $2,333.33 cents more than they earned!”

    You can get away with this kind of behavior until just before the collapse of the whole financial system, especially if you happen to own the world reserve currency for the moment.

    Another example of how bad the situation actually is:

    ” in May 1995, which was eleven long years ago, total deposits in the banks (”savings”) were only around $110 billion, and total Loans and Leases on the books of the banks logged in at only $204 billion. And against that, the banks were saddled with $57 billion in Required Reserves….Total Deposits at the banks are up to $5.2 trillion, which is 47 times bigger than it was in 1995. That’s a growth rate of 42% a year, compounded! And total Loans and Leases is now $5.7 trillion, which is 27 times bigger than in 1995, which works out to an annual growth rate of 35% a year”

    Read again: 42 PERCENT growth rate of loans per year! Yeah, you can have bigger GDP growth rate for a while by borrowing huge amounts of money.

    The only problem is that the money borrowed has to be paid back, already 17 percent of the yearly US federal budget goes to interest rate payments, way more than to education, for example and even more and more money is borrowed. It is one way street. So it is all about eazy money, just one big Ponzi or pyramid scheme.

    Comparison of EU and US is this: One neighbour buys with his own money a nice Volvo and takes a reasonable sized mortgage loan to buy a house. He saves money to his retirement and actually follows his budget.

    The other neighbour, although earning 25 percent more per year, maxes out all of his credit cards to buy all kinds of stuff and takes one huge mortgage loan to buy a huge house and takes also one mammoth car loan to buy a Ferrari. He is living paycheck to paycheck, always paying bills late or at the very last minute, never saves anything and borrows money from his friends. Budgets are for sissies anyway…

    So question is: which one is much more likely to run into big economic troubles?

  • tim73

    About social mobility: Something is clearly wrong with the US if one needs to go through military and in the process get oneself killed in a war in order to finance a bachelor degree in plumbing!

    Stuff is cheaper in the US but that is so mainly because the full costs of making that stuff is not paid. Illegal immigrants is the backbone of this Eloi consumer paradise. For more, consumers, states, federal government are all deficit spending. There are unconfirmed reports of couple of Eds in Iowa who do not own one cent to anybody! :)

  • STP

    So Tim stop buying all things Chinese. :D

    Lets see you do as you preach.

    I am betting it will not happen.

    Right?

    Go on, flap your gums, it is amusing, in a Baghdad Bob kind of way.

  • Moral minority?

    All please take a look at this:

    http://www.lse.ac.uk/collections/pressAndInformationOffice/newsAndEvents/archives/2005/LSE_SuttonTrust_report.htm

    If we support social mobility, contrary to the myth (which I also used to believe in), the welfare state enables social mobility far better than countries such as the US and UK where the myth has it that everyone can become rich despite humble origins if s/he just works hard enough. Seems to be crap.

    Of course there’s no compulsion to believe that a system which supports social mobility is the best one there is.

  • Markku

    Face it people, the except for the underclass, everyone is economically better off in the USA than in Finland. The USA is a richer country than Finland. You know, like Finland is richer than Estonia or Greece.

  • winter

    tim73

    Get your Facts.

    Both of my kids get Free College (Florida and Georgia use the lottery money for this, plus some other states). They both had to have higher than a 3.0 High School Average to get college fees paid. They both had good SAT scores and got more money given to them for School only.

    Now Grad School will not be paid, so they must work their way through that one.

  • winter

    mjr

    “Hmm, lack of social mobility, high crime, worsening education system”

    right

    and nobody wants to come here for all those missed opportunities. Yep they are fleeing the boarders, yelling about the lack of jobs

    Sorry, we have less than 5% unemployment rate. Hum… HUM what is the EU’s, I can’t remember if you at 10%, 15%, or 25%.

  • Anonymous

    When asian banks stop giving loans to USA and oil starts to run out, we will all pay the price for our cheap world.

  • http://m-sandt.blogspot.com Mikko Sandt

    Moral minority:
    the welfare state enables social mobility far better than countries such as the US and UK

    Not really:
    http://www.johannorberg.net/?page=displayblog&month=5&year=2006#1714

  • http://finnsense.blogspot.com finnsense

    Phil,

    The point about social mobility is that your outcome in life does not depend on your starting point. It is thus irrelevant that the distribution of income is wider in the US than country X. If it’s all down to ability and hard work rather than birth the poor will get to the to.

    Mikko,

    This point applies to Norberg’s argument as well. Social mobility is not about absolute wealth but relative wealth. It measures your income relative to others in your society and is thus a measure of the extent to which birth rather than intelligence, hard work and luck affect your ability to do better economically than your peers. Compressed income distribution makes it absolutely easier to rise up a quintile but not relatively.

    Furthermore, Norberg’s argument is pretty ad hoc. He doesn’t give any hard evidence that the statistics are misleading for the reason he states.

  • http://izrailit.blogspot.com/ Vera

    Phil: it’s quite easy to get a nice loan here in Finland, too.

  • Ode

    This America versus Finland bashing contest is interesting, but very unintellectual. As #16 wrote, there is a lot more wealth in absolute terms is USA than in Finland. It is due to at least two facts. First, Americans have been wealthy for a long time now and Finland has just emerged in to the club of wealthy nations during the last 20 years and thus is still in a catching up phase.

    Second, with about the same productivity per hour worked, Finland is poorer, because we simply prefer more leasure. Also, having less extrinsic(i.e. economic) incentives to work, because of many welfare provisions, has undoubtetly an effect on our willingness to work.

    Also, as USA is starting to take some responibility for the ecology, it surely will have to pay a price, in terms of productivity and incentives, that will drag it down a bit compared to Nordic countries.

    But, in my opinion, both countries are rich enough to educate, feed, house and cure their citizens. Be by the market mechanism(cheaper and more effeicient, usually) or the centralized system(more equal, usually). In most aspects, both countries succeed quite laudably.

    At least in the Finnish context, the important questions are usually boiled down to exclusion and marginalization. Finland has a lot of work to do in that field. I think we are improving, partly because our labour market has become a little more elastic and thus a little more effective lately. But anyway, this all is beside the point..

  • Hege

    ALL multicultural societies fail eventually.

    Allways have allways will.

    Period.

  • http://lightfromthenorth.blogspot.com/ Toby

    Dude – you so have no taste in cars! Deary deary me.

    I’ve just come back from the UK where we always do loads of shopping as things are a lot cheaper there as well. I think size and density of markets must have a role to play as well. Tescos (or Wallmart) can just afford to be buy 10 (or 50) times the amount of a product than S-group can so they get it cheaper.

  • Svartsven

    “ALL multicultural societies fail eventually.

    Allways have allways will.

    Period.”

    What does it mean to fail as a society? How is this even relevant to what Phil is saying? I can’t imagine how you might support this claim with a coherent argument.

  • m

    I can’t imagine how he might make a coherent argument. I hate it when these interesting discussions get hijacked by people like tim73, Hege or Finnish honesty.

    Anyway, keep going.

    And yeah, the U.S. is considerably richer than Finland. We’re doing very well globally though.

  • http://fredfryinternational.blogspot.com Fred Fry

    “They compared the incomes of 2,749 father-and-son pairs from 1979 to 1998 and found that few sons had moved up the class ladder. Nearly 70% of the sons in 1998 had remained either at the same level or were doing worse than their fathers in 1979.”

    Of course it matters what rung the father is at. Phil alluded to this. My Father was a HS dropout and ended up in the army to avoid jail back in the 50′s. He has 4 sons, all employed and doing well. 3 of four have college degrees, one is working on it and one also has an MBA. We all paid our way through school with the help of student loans and I was the only one who opted for a military option.

    The US guarantees nothing more than an opportunity to do well. It is up to each person to take the opportunity or not. Lets face it, much depends on whether you have good parents or not. If they are not doing well and do not push you, chances are, you will go nowhere too. The important part of the survey should have been to understand why the children did not succeed. (Europeans love to understand why…)

  • Hege
  • Anonymous

    For the sake of environment, gas should cost 10 e / liter, at minumum.

  • issi

    …” You are fool if you buy anyhing for full price”…
    What is full price? Do you in Finland buy everything from Stockmann?
    And what other countries that a finn might think of when talking about cheap? -Russia, baltic countries (well, Tallinn is not that cheap anymore), Poland… So they must be so much richer countries than Finland.
    Here’s so many other ways to define word “rich” than a mount of money or goods you might have, I wouldn’t move anywhere just to get my gas, booze or anything else cheaper.

  • m

    “For the sake of environment, gas should cost 10 e / liter, at minumum.”

    And for the sake of alternative fuel/energy development.

  • Observer

    issi in #32 says:”I wouldn’t move anywhere just to get my gas, booze or anything else cheaper.”

    And presumably, most of us will also not move anywhere just to pay higher prices for gas, booze or anything else.

    Why are prices in Finland so high? Is it the same reason why the fruits and vegetables are often “overripe” in the grocery stores, as mentioned in an earlier thread?

    Is it because of a lack of competitive practices in some retail sectors and a population that does not know that it is being taken for a ride and therefore does not complain?

    Don’t Finns think about it when they travel and see the lower prices almost everywhere else?

    Don’t they read about the periodical complaints of the Finnish Competition Board?

    Do they really believe that “Finnish quality is the reason for the high prices” or the “high transportation costs” or the “low population density”?

    Or is this a form of denial?

    And why do some Finns attack countries with low prices? Is it perverse for some countries to have open markets where competition has the beneficial result of lower prices?

    Finnish competitiveness in keeping its own citizens from migrating as well as attracting new immigrants can only be helped if the price levels for baaic everyday household goods such as food comes down to normal levels.

  • http://www.livingwithpeanut.blogspot.com Peanut’s Mom

    Phil is right – everything is much cheaper here in the US and you have more to start with. But, he did overlook one important fact which I think has changed during the 4 years I just spent in Finland:
    > its cheap, but its crap quality.

    Honestly, I used to be Target, Walmart, TJ Maxx, Old Navy, you-name-it-shabby-chic-retail shop – aholic. I’ve been disappointed over and over and over again with the products I’ve recently bought there.

    Prices are low because every production process and raw material has been reduced to the lowest possible standard that will still produce a product that stays together long enough for you to get it out of the store.

    Cheap clothes tear, strings come loose, they shrink/change colors/lose their shape in two washes. Cheap kitchen wares pop apart the first time you use them. Cheap furniture chips the moments a vacuum cleaner brushes against it.

    Even not-so-cheap- appliances have their issues. Our nearly top of the line, front-loading washing machine was out of commission two weeks after we got it and it took 4 weeks to repair it (try that with a 10 month old!!!).

    Thankfully, these stores will take everything back, no matter the condition and refund you. But, its a hassle. I’ve now wasted my time several times buying, having an item break, returning and then having to go elsewhere to repurchase.

    A bright spot is that more companies are becoming environmentally aware – Walmart is offering a braod range of organic groceries and starting to experiment with some fair-trade products. Very positive development since they have so much control over a vast empire of producers, subcontractors, etc. And, if Walmart is offering it, I believe it means that the “average consumer” is demanding it – again, a very positive turn.

  • winter

    Peanut’s MOM

    Walmart gave you cheep items, because you demanded it. They do not invent the market, rather they try hard to fill a demand in the market.

    Please get your economic FACTS correct, and stop the bashing that makes little sense.

  • Anonymous

    #35 says:

    “Honestly, I used to be Target, Walmart, TJ Maxx, Old Navy, you-name-it-shabby-chic-retail shop – aholic. I’ve been disappointed over and over and over again with the products I’ve recently bought there.”

    Well, Walmart and Target etc. has always and always and always sold poor quality products to the “shabby-chic-retail shop-aholic types”.

    I went to a Walmart once about 6 or 7 years ago against the advice of my American friends. I saw goods – yes, very cheap – but not to the quality standings that suit me.

    That was the first and last time for me at a Walmart. And I have also been to Targets once, the same thing for me there as well.

    Perhaps, the quality is even lower now in the very low end quality stores like Walmart and Target. But, I wouldn’t know. I don’t go there “over and over and over again”, when I visit the States.

    When I shopped in the States, in the UK, or in many of the other countries of the world, I always had a wide selection of different stores with quality and price ranges that suited me. Upon return from my tripes, my suitcases are always filled up with similar or better quality goods at prices a fraction of what they would cost me in Finland.

    Everything: Clothes, consumer electronics, books, DVD’s, everything if you know where to shop.

    Full stop, end of agrument.

  • http://blog.2manyjohns.com John Evans

    Quite the debate :)

    I am from the UK and I have been here in Finland for 4 years now. I have to say anyone who thinks the UK is cheap obviously has issues using a currency convertor because it is not.

    I think it breaks down like this.

    In the UK food is cheaper and of better quality.
    Here rent is cheaper and life is of a better quality.
    Petrol costs the same
    Cars are cheaper in the UK
    Ironically customer serivce is better in Finland which makes me happier
    Education is way better in Finland and therefor you dont see the ‘Postcode house shopping’ you see in the UK.
    etc. etc.

    So far living in Finland cost me around what it did in the UK, if not a little less. And my quality of living is way up. Do I want to stay here however? no! I just cant deal with the all the bipolar stuff here. Not going back to the UK though :)

  • winter

    John

    Come to the USA. We have a Less Than 5% unemployment and need workers.

    I can’t get my local house builders to even come by, they are so busy, one even said he was booked for the next 4 years.

    Try and get a Plummer? I took 3 days of calling to get one to even schedule a call 3 days out.

    At least my doctor will see me the next day. But if Socialized medicine ever comes, I can kiss that goodbye.

  • Åboy

    winter, it’s quite obvious that you’re stuck on a weird cold-war mindset where everything containing a “social” in it is bad, evil commies taking over the world.

    Wake up and smell the coffee, please.

  • winter

    Aboy

    I just see the 6 month wait for an MRI in the Canada Social Medical system, and ask Why?

    Or the “You are now to old for that operation” excuse (so she went private) from the British Social Medical system to my Grandma (Over 80), and I ask Why?

    So far nobody has explained Why? Can you explain either case?

  • Markku

    I had the same idea how things were in the UK compared to Finland based on everything I’ve read, experienced or heard. Food in supermarkets is indeed better and cheaper in the UK than in Finland. Housing is considerably more expensive in the UK than in Finland, on average. I’ve never lived in the UK, though. But I’ve heard from British friends and acquaintances how shockingly expensive rents there can be.

  • tony bee

    Why is “everything expensive and of low quality in Finland (in fact “everything” is not, but who cares)? Take Spanish tomatoes. For them to arrive in Britain, how long does it take? Two-three days by a ship? And to Finland? Addtional two-three days. It takes a person who is pretty far-removed from the realities of life not to understand that those two-three additional days increase both the risk of “over-ripeness” and the price. The transportation costs play a role in prices but more importantly the loss is far greater in Finland. More tomatoes had be thrown away, in other words.

    What about the competition or the lack of it? Lidl has proven that there really was room for an additional low-priced competitor. Spar’s destiny, on the other hand, proved that in the middle price range there wasn’t. Then again Lidl is amazingly little less expensive. Why can’t it utilize more its “econmy of size”, cheap “German” commodities which it buys in far greater quantities than any Finnish firm can, and so on? It must be salaries, transportation costs and loss. Finland is doomed to be a little more expensive even if salaries of clerks and such (the over-all costs of labor to be more precise) were cut down to “British” levels.

    How much more expensive is Helsinki then? Here’s a comparison:
    http://www.finfacts.com/costofliving.htm
    It seems that Helsinki is one of the least expensive cities in western Europe, and far cheaper than London, for example.

    But that comparison included rents. Without them (according to “Wages and Earnings” study) these are the more expensive cities compared to Helsinki: Oslo, Copenhagen, Tokyo, Zurich, London, Stockholm, Basel, Paris, Geneva, and Lugano. Oslo’s index is 115, Zurich’s 100, London’s 99 and Helsinki’s 93. The most expensive US city, New York, comes right after Helsinki with 92.

    Salaries are low in Helsinki, though, even if we take into account that there are more public, and thus “free” services in Finland than in most other countries. In Helsinki a person has to work for 19 minutes to get enough money to buy a Big Mac while in New York only for 12 minutes. So when the general domestic purchasing power was ranked Helsinki was pretty far down the list.

  • -

    winter

    I’ve had much better (and faster) medical care in Finland than I ever got in the US. Never had to wait too long for an MRI or other procedure in Finland. Most often I even get a doctor appointment the SAME day.

    I have had some bad experiences with socialized medicine (ditto for the US system) but most of what I have seen has been overwhelmingly positive. I know both systems very well and would choose the Finnish system over the US system for medical care ANY DAY!!!

  • Freeridin’ Franklin

    winter:
    Come to the USA. We have a Less Than 5% unemployment and need workers.

    You know, I’d love to. There are a gazillion jobs in NYC (and SJ) with nice 6-figure salaries which I could do standing on my head. Unfortunately, American liberty stands in the way. And we all know how much you right-wing types hate illegal immigrants.

    I can’t get my local house builders to even come by, they are so busy, one even said he was booked for the next 4 years.

    Try and get a Plummer? I took 3 days of calling to get one to even schedule a call 3 days out.

    It isn’t so easy to get a “plummer” in Finland either, especially in the capital area. Housing companies often attempt to do their renovations in the summer and the poor SOBs are in for a big surprise when they start calling in mid-June.

    At least my doctor will see me the next day.

    Funny, mine will see me the same day. Of course, I go private, but it costs around 50€ per visit, so I don’t need a $2000/mo insurance.

  • Anonymous

    tony bee in 73:

    some comments:

    paragraph 1: how much does two or three extra days cost for a container of tomatoes with regard to its total cost? And refrigeration does wonders in reducing spoilage costs. Also, people eat things other than tomatoes. How about canned goods and goods already packaged: there is no spoilage factor. Why the huge markup on all these food items? For an answer: try the C word: Cartel.

    paragraph 2: “Then again Lidl is amazingly little less expensive. Why can’t it utilize more its “econmy of size”,”

    Lidl probably does. Once it establishes itself as the low cost retailer by offering lower prices by say 5%, and they grab the additional marketshare, why should they lower prices by another 10% when your incremental customer growth probably is not commensurate with the loss in income by offering a bigger discount. They do have the “economies of scale etc”, but prefer to put it on the buttom line of their income statement and not in the pockets of the Finnish consumers.

    More competition is needed. Lidl came into a cosy cartel-like environment, and is enjoying the benefits of it by offering marginally lower prices, grabbing some marketshare but otherwise not rocking the boat. One or two more “Lidl’s” would shake up the boat abit more, and lower prices will undoubtedly occur.

    paragraph 3:

    of the list of the most expensive cities, Helsinki is the smallest city in the top 25. In fact, some of the other cities have much greater populations than Finland. It is difficult to compare major capitals or major regional commercial or financial centres like London, Paris, New York, Beijing, Singapore, etc. with the substantially smaller Helsinki. It is like comparing the cost of living in Helsinki with the cost of living with a village in Kajaani, for example, especially when dealing with housing costs.

    Last paragraph: “Salaries are low in Helsinki, though, even if we take into account that there are more public, and thus “free” services in Finland than in most other countries.”

    There is nothing “free” in life. “Free Services” are paid for by the higher taxes in Finland. Less taxes = lower services, and Higher Taxes does not = “Free” Services.

    The social services are rather good in Finland, but they are not free.

  • tony bee

    It’s true that something cartel-like seems to be going on, not that Kesko, SOK etc would have negotiated on prices, in fact they are fiercely fighting over market shares, but they have somehow come to a common conclusion that the situation should not be disturbed with concepts like Lidl. Lidl too seems to have reached the same conclusion ;-) It was only marginally less expensive than Prisma in a recent comparison I saw. I’m not sure it’s a wise policy, but what do I know.

    The argument here was that Helsinki is _absolutely_ expensive, not that “it’s expensive relative to its size” or something like that. Right?

    I didn’t read the studies through, but I think that the services are indeed free in Finland in the context of the comparison; instead of total labor costs they compared gross earnings. I’m not sure if the same thing was meant, though, but I doubt it. (The study is called Prices and Earnings not Wages and Earnings, of course.)

    And Helsinki isn’t all that expensive, that’s the bottom line anyway be it because of its size or of whatever other reason. (In fact, I bet Kajaani is more expensive than Helsinki in most respects …)

  • Al

    Why don’t ya stop bitchin about finland all the time and move back to the good ol’ us of a?’

    your constant complaints on the welfare state are tired and old. please go back. they need you there.

  • http://www.strudeltimes.it strudel

    A DAY IN NEW YORK CITY
    Americano coffee “regular”: $1. 00;
    Single espresso $1.50;
    Muffin (plumcake) $1.20;

    1 gallon orange juice $2.50;
    1 gallon water $3.50;
    1 gallon car-fuel $3.50;
    metro/bus ticket $2.00;
    1 mile taxi-drive (out of rush-hour) $4.00;
    1 mile taxi-drive ( rush-hour) $8.00;
    1 show-musical ticket $100.
    To enter the Museum Mile, (5th Avenue tra 70th street e 90th street, lungo il lato est di Central Park, will cost $15.00;
    lemonade at a kiosk $1.00;
    un hot dog at a kiosk $1.50
    panini $7.00.
    assorted salad $6.00.

    glass of wine $8.00 (plus tip );
    a trip around Liberty on board of a ferry $18.00;
    dinner for two in an Italian Restaurant $100 (plus tip).
    Go to the flics and pay a movie-ticket $11.00.
    3 stars Double bedroom – working days $150 – wek ends $200 -

  • http://mrskin.cc mrskin

    I think I need to make a blog, I wanna post my heart out.

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