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Finland for Thought » Toys ‘R’ Us arrives in Finland! | Politics, current events, culture - In Finland & the United States | Blog of an American living in Finland

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25.8.2006

Toys ‘R’ Us arrives in Finland!

Tags: Uncategorized — Author: @ 3:48 pm

Wow, I didn’t know they were coming. I love Toys ‘R’ Us. A shame it’s in Jyväskylä and not Helsinki

toys_aint_us.jpeg

  • hobbes

    They must of dished out hundreds of thousands of euros on advertising that thing. For the past two weeks I think they’ve had either a full-page or a half-page full colour ad every day in Keskisuomalainen. Plus frontpage ads in Suur-Jyväskylän lehti and posters on bus stops etc.

  • iJusten

    They also recruited people in Metro. I think they are opening another store in Itäkeskus.

  • Helsinkian

    The article Phil linked to said they are planning to open a store in Vantaa…

  • Mo

    That’s pretty weird, considering they closed the Toys R’ Us in my town here in Michigan. Is it all Finnish toys basically?

  • winter

    First we send you McDonalds, now you get a Toy r’ US? When is the Walmart comming?

  • Anonymous

    I hope Walmart comes soon, because they would fail miserably. Slavery and non-unionized workers just don’t work here.

  • Anonymous

    #6 When a businss enters international territory they have to comply with the said countries ordinances. Don’t be stupid. If Walmart or Kmart or Target comes to Finland they would make a fortune since the prices would be so cheap. You fucking people travel to Estonia to buy booze so don’t deny you love a good deal. As someone who travels to your country for business every three months, I gasp at the prices you people pay for the silliest things. AND I make a fortune and I wouldn’t pay those prices. Shop America! You know you’d love to.

  • winter

    Ah.. the Walmart “Slavery and non-unionized workers” rule the world view. In fact WalMart in town adds to the number of workers with benefits, like Health Care and a retirement system.

    But then again with Finns paying 60% of their pay to the state, that does not leave much left over to spend at Walmart.

  • Jyväskyläinen

    At least now people from Helsinki have reason to come Jyväskylä, not other way around. =)

  • Ano Nymous

    So, what’s so great about this particular chain of stores?

  • stenius

    #10 nothing, they are overpriced in the states

  • Kristian (in Espoo)

    Any taste of consumerism for Finland is good. We need a more volume-oriented economy to lower prices. I hope Toys ‘R Us succeeds.

    Walmart would be OK too, but I think Prisma has that segment covered. There is a Walmart where I previously lived in Dresden; it was sort of disappointing because they didn’t really introduce any new products. That is, I could buy the same things elsewhere. If nothing else, it was good for competition though.

    Some American restaurant chains, like TGI Fridays, would be good here. Places like that have a good management approach that’s centered around the customer. And their prices are good too. Big chains tend to set trends. Anyone remember the “Where’s the Beef?” campaign from Burger King?

    Then again, maybe it’s wishful thinking on my part. American chains might come to Finland and realize they can profit by serving-up mini-portions, just like the native restaurants. Oh well :-/

  • JNT

    O-h j-e-e. I-am-not-robot. Me-sentient-creature.

    O for Pete’s sake (the guy U mught HAVE to argue with sooner or later maybe) I respect your feelings for this country but I seriously resent your attitude against our system of provifing to the poor (ok, it must be reworked). But evenso, you are promotin corporate welfare shait, which I do nor embrace or condone in any way. What is worse than the social welfare state, is the corporate welfare state.

    Prove me wrong.

    Example 1. The London Underground – great until it was privatized. Now, if you want to move around, just take the CAB Formerly, you could get about anywhere with the tube.

  • winter

    Prove me wrong? Easy.. just look hard at the USA economy. If you get stuck in a bad job, just move on and dump the corporate idiot, same for the Union idiot.

    Freedom really comes from a free economy. A state welfare or corporate state both seek to close down the free moving economy.

    Look more globally, think globally. Bottom line: any welfare state is bad. Take your feet and just walk away.

  • winter

    Wal-Mart started as a company that fulfilled a need for rural America to have a retailer who was a replacement for the old general store concept. It is a company that started rural and moved into urban settings. It is constantly building new stores and replacing old stores. It employs large numbers of people who used to work in low paying non-union jobs in rural areas (can’t speak to urban areas) that are no longer there. It supplies products at a reasonable cost to the masses.

    A great American success story.

  • http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/77/walmart.html simplistic view of wal-mart

    Sorry winter, you are wrong. Wal-Mart is not good for America.

    Think you are clever to shop at Wal-Mart? Think again…

    The Wal-Mart You Don’t Know

    The giant retailer’s low prices often come with a high cost. Wal-Mart’s relentless pressure can crush the companies it does business with and force them to send jobs overseas. Are we shopping our way straight to the unemployment line?

    http://www.fastcompany.com/magazine/77/walmart.html

  • EU-civil servant

    I’m happy that it was located in Jyväskylä and not Helsinki. Helsinki just isn’t everything (it lacks also good facilities for live music, Lutakko is soo much better than Tavastia..)

    BUT, I’m sorry for all the Finland that another crappy American company has entered in its land. Go Hesburger!! Go Mango! Go Ikea! Go Europe !! ;)

    Besides, I don’t pay 60% to the Finnish government? Who does? The highest I know is closer to 40%, mine is about 10%, and I make quite well..

  • http://finnpundit.blogspot.com Finnpundit

    16: Simplistic, bashing on Wal-Mart is a sport that is already behind the times, because the Wal-Mart phenomenon is behind the times. Winter is correct in saying it has had an incredible benefit to the American economy, but by now the Wal-Mart phenomenon will face the Microsoft phenomenon: it has a lot of scrappy terrier competitors nipping at its heels (and most of them are not European, but other American companies).

    And it should be so: Wal-Mart is an American corporation, borne out of competition, instead of (as in Finland and most of welfare-statist Europe) state-sanctioned protectionism.

    EU-civil servant: Go Europe? Europe has nowhere to go, but to markets provided by the American worker-consumer.

    That might change, as China develops into a mature consumer market. But with the euro valued so high, and with most Chinese foreign exchange reserves invested in US treasuries, European product will only appeal to the very wealthy in China, who can afford the more expensive exchange rates, leaving the rest of the Chinese market up for grabs to those who are better positioned to compete.

    There’s a reason why the US dollar is lower, just as there’s a reason why the Chinese continue to invest in the US dollar, lower than it might be compared to the euro.

    The currency that circulates more, because it is taxed less is the currency that will dominate world trade.

  • EU-civil servant

    Finnpundit:
    As the 3rd economy in the world, Europe (read: EU) has a lot to cooperate with the number 2 (Japan), go further with South Korea (hopefully free trade agreement will proceed), other Asian tigers, Russia,

    Besides, the internal markets in Europe is the greatest way to go for Europe.

  • http://finnpundit.blogspot.com Finnpundit

    19: What internal markets? The EU still needs to have an export surplus to the American worker-consumer in order to assure barely near-full employment to the mainstay of its heavy industries: auto industries, shipyards, machine tools, high-tech, etc., not to mention the “fluff” industries such as L’Oreal cosmetics and other “sign” heavy, brand-heavy industries.

    The fact is that the EU has a larger consumer market by population, but is still poorer than the US market, simply because European consumers don’t have money left to spend at the marketplace, after taxes. And that is only due to the entrenched, state-sanctioned propagation of “social values” imagined by the welfare state.

    As to European product going to Japan, South Korea, and other Asian tigers, good luck, as those countries will only by the label, but not the product. In other words, European product will only sell for snob appeal, but the local, lower-priced product will sell to the local market.

    If Europeans were smarter, they’d be shaping the future (like America is doing) by freeing up their capital (through lesser taxation) and jumping on board the next innovation and trend that happens through the free implementation of capital.

    The next trend is the marketing of information (cars, cellphones, high-tech is “hard” product, so easily commoditized). The capitalization of information, and the venues it is delivered in, is a soft commodity that will rule the world in the near future, and Europe is so far behind that trend that the US has nothing to worry about for some time to come.

  • EU-civil servant

    20:
    You apparently don’t know much about the welfare systemn in Europe. There are 4 models of it, which means, the only Welfare states are in the north of Europe. There is no such thing as ‘welfare’ if you go any futher than Nordic countries. Look at Estonia or UK. You can’t talk about European welfare states, as the concept doesn’t exist.

    As for American labels: The American beef imports haven’t been that big of a seller after resuming the markets in the East Asia. So you are right, there is a good luck opportunity to European beef, at least to say.

  • Anonymous

    There is a Walmart where I previously lived in Dresden

    There used to be. Walmart had to take ist bussiness elsewhere from Germany. Just couldn’t compete.

    You apparently don’t know much about the welfare systemn in Europe.

    No shit. Is there something he knows about? I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know that Nokia is a European firm or where its markets are. Dont’ waste your time on this Finnbagel.

    By the way, unemployment in Finland just went below 7%. The growth of the GDP for this year will be above 4 if not 5%. Soon the Americans will looking for a model of a succesfull economy once again in northern Europe.

  • http://finnpundit.blogspot.com Finnpundit

    21. Ah, so now we go for regionalist exclusionism. Greece doesn’t have a “true” welfare statist system, simply because it’s one of the “southern” socialist welfare states, and is not borne out of true welfare-statism, which is Lutheran in origin.

    Your statement is very indicative of the snobbishness inherent in Nordic countries towards their poorer allies and trading partners down south, or east. Their wealthier western trading partners (as in the UK) who engage in welfare statism (as in the troubled British National Health Services) are excluded simply because of some other taint (they had Thatcher in their history, who managed to dismantle all of that which was necessary for the rest of welfare statism to work… whatever).

    Okay. So New Orleans is not a “real” part of America, as that place has always been particularly “insular” in nature, prone to corruption, and not truly part of the “Union”. Whatever…. Cheap rationalization is cheap.

    You apparently don’t know much about socialism in Europe, if you think that the welfare states in Nordic countries are the highest expression of welfare statism. Socialism is a disaster. Welfare statism is a disaster. It has only survive because it has had access to the American worker-consumer. It has only survived in rather outwardly successful form up north because of the social regimentation engineered by the prior force in power before it: the Lutheran Church. Social Democrats were simply inheritors of that prior legacy; the society they created was not due to their own ideology.

    As for beef imports and exports, please, that is even lower than hi-tech products in complexity. Any competitive imbalances there are even easier to fix, as long as the state doesn’t stand in the way.

  • http://finnpundit.blogspot.com Finnpundit

    22. Anonymouse, it is to be expected that the more competitive European economies will see a boost to their economies, once the American economy sees a boost. But the lag time is usually about 1.5 to 2 years. Thus, the Bush tax cuts, which revived the American economy so impressively from 2002 to 2005, are now being felt in Europe, which now enjoys a freeride, thanks to exports to the American worker-consumer, who had more money to spend on European products (European consumers simply don’t make up enough demand to support European welfare state needs).

    So, you can thank President Bush for the reduction in Finnish unemployment, and increase in Finnish GDP.

    But all of this may be short-lived, as the US economy is seeing a slowdown. Whether it will be a soft-landing, or whether there will be an increase in inflation and unemployment, is being constantly debated on Wall Street by people a lot smarter than you or me, who have more money at stake.

    However, you can be sure of one thing: in 1.5 to 2 years, Finland will feel the effect.

  • Belino

    I’m happy to see any non-Finnish company coming here.

    Finnish means 100 times overpriced! that’s how finns make business – they buy for 5 cents and sell for 100€. They don’t want to have more customers, because they are too lazy and prefer to have 1 who pays for 10.

    Look what LIDL did in Finland in a few years. They are everywhere and finnish chains suck in any area near LIDL.

    If not ACN will you ever see low mobile prices?

  • EU-civil servant

    Mobile markets in Finland are far different than anywhere else, where the business is made not with the cell phones but with the .. (what’s the word) connections.

    Belino, tell anyone who’s running up a business that he/she’s lazy and you get kicked. They’re not making money in relations of 5cents/100 euros, not even close. It’s more about taxation, costumers, insurance, etc. It’s little different to run up a business when the country size of a Finland has only 5 million people (out of which only a little decimal can be considered as costumers) than a city which has more than 5 million population.

    LIDL: Whats’s the quality of their shit? It’s like buying euroshopper from S-group.

  • Anonymous

    the US economy is seeing a slowdown

    Indeed, the US freeriding on Chinese money will end soon. But what’s more alarming is that the failing education system has not been able to produce enough talent in decades. Earlier the problem could be compensated with freeriding on foreign talent, but recently that too has slowed down. When domestic savings, and thus investments, have at the same time dropped to alarming levels, the US economy is running out of both human and economical capital.

    Usually the Republicans manage to destroy the economy only on a short term, but this time they may have done it for good or at least for a decade or two.

    As I wrote: soon the USA will be looking once again towards north-European economies while looking for a model.

  • iJusten

    True, Lidl brought competition in the daily products, but the selection in them is so limited you cant hope to find something even little rarer there. For examble, they dont sell Mr. Muscle nor any replacement product.

    While Lidl did quicken the market, its actual marketshare is only around 5% (Kesko and SOK both have around 35% and Tradeka 10%).

    After the initial pricechanges, Lidl is now in prices very close to traditional finnish firms. Not to mention that many of their products have some really substandard qualities, for examble, the salamis and whatnot have so unbelievable high fat percentage its not even funny.

  • Anonymous

    If not ACN will you ever see low mobile prices?

    Heh, they are about the lowest in the whole world.

    And Finland is not an expensive country compared to other rich countries. You don’t have to trust your gut feeling on this; it’s been studied countless times.

    But it’s true that certain things are cheaper in Lidl than in Prisma. Croissants for example, or Pizzas. But I’d say that the chain is in trouble. Too few cars on their parking lots most of the time – compared to other chains.

  • http://www.axis-of-aevil.net/ hfb

    Anon #26 – While I’d hate to seem like I’m defending FinnPundit, I do often wonder how Finns seem to always wag their finger at the US stating how lack of education will kill it when, even with a rather generous state funded educational system, Finland doesn’t seem to be generating oodles of innovation, creativity and talent itself. I mean, people still hold up Aalto and the rest of the 2 or more generations removed old guard as examples of Finnish design. It’s a philosophy more than a formulaic guarantee of success.

    And I don’t know that the US will look towards a tiny economy that has such high taxation and slow growth. I used to be rather supportive of the idea of social welfare but after living here and seeing the only benefit seems to be that the drunks get beer money instead of begging for it and labour has more civlised rules, maybe less abject poverty and free education, I’m not entirely convinced as I was that it’s an improvement.

    EU civil servant – Well, 40% off the top of my paycheck + 22% VAT on most any goods bought in Finland = 62% which is about what I pay. You only have to pay 10%….must be nice to be so ‘equal’.

  • Anonymous

    hfb said ‘blaa blaa blaa drunks blaa poops blaa.’

    Actually finlands growth is about 4-5% I wouldn’t say thats slow

  • Anonymous

    hfb, why do you “hate to seem like I’m defending FinnPundit”? After all, you’re sisters in arms aiming bigoted hatred toward Finland – and writing with silly confidence about things you know nothing or very little about. You’re practically soul mates.

    It’s not Finns who are worried about the failing educational system but Americans themselves. But I’m sure you don’t know it – or care. Is that how you turn out in American schools, pleased with your ignorance, I wonder.

    Finns are surprisingly innovative. Just, for example, take a look at the patent statistics. And how could it be otherwise? Finland does very well in the global “information” market. Low-end jobs are outsourced to China and elsewhere and still unemployment numbers are rapidly going down.

    And what a welfare system does to a society is a complicated question, so I won’t bother you with it.

    Northern Europe is not a “tiny economy”. But what do you care?

    You forgot to tell about your latest poop adventures, by the way.

  • Kristian (in Espoo)

    About Lidl…

    I’m glad Lidl is here for competition’s sake. But I won’t shop there if I don’t have to. Here are two reasons:

    1). They have NO designated ‘exit’ lanes. If you don’t find something to purchase, then you can’t leave the store without climbing over other customers in the narrow check-out lanes. It’s typical for German stores. Once I got so frustrated in Germany that I climbed-up the ‘closed lane’ barrier and walked on the conveyor belt before leaving the store. It wasn’t Lidl in that case, but another store. Usually, I just climb over the ‘closed lane’ barrier, but without walking along the conveyor belt.

    2). The conveyors are too short. After the items are scanned, they roll for a short distance and you quickly have to scoop them into something before the next customer’s purchase comes along.

    Both of these things are classic examples of German STUPIDNESS toward the customer—totally disrespectful. In fairness though, a few stores here in Finland use the same tactic; so I occasionally climb over their barriers too. But that’s not typical for most Finnish stores. And Finnish stores always have modern conveyor belt systems at check-out.

  • Anonymous

    In German style Lidl doesn’t trust customers themselves to weigh fruits and vegetables correctly. Apparently Germans are too dishonest.

  • http://www.axis-of-aevil.net/ hfb

    Ah, I wrongly expected some sort of rational response to the stupid cliche of how the US will die without education. One thing Finland certainly doesn’t teach in its schools is the art of argument or rational discussion.

    To Anonymous #30, all I have to say is if the growth was all that great here you wouldn’t have a giant crowd waiting for a “Toys R Us” to open out in the sticks. Not to mention the recent 20%+ youth unemployment statistic. And, again, it doesn’t address the point I made.

    To Anonymous #31 – Nokia is responsible for most of those patents and Nokia also imports a lot of various talent from elsewhere, including the US. I wouldn’t be so smug in assuming that all those patents are derivative of the educational system here in Finland.

    And, again, it doesn’t address the original point I made but you’re too busy throwing up pissy arguments that are unrelated and being hateful towards me personally to bother with rational statements I suppose..

    The US has plenty of good education and number of well educated people, not that you could tell by watching TV or movies, but the philosophy of valuing education is quite different than here and admittedly not one I share with the US. Still, where is the supporting evidence that Finland is doing so much better for it? Attacking me personally may make you feel better, but it doesn’t answer the question.

    Finland, at least here on Phil’s corner of it, is just as or even more smug about itself as America is and I’m still wondering what it has done to earn that smugness.

  • Anonymous

    hfb, let’s take it again … slowly:

    Americans are worried about the failure of their education system, not Finns. Get it? A m e r i c a n s t h e m s e l v e s. Excluding you, of course, because you just don’t bother to know about such trivia.

    Finland is doing amazingly well in the global market. Get it? Why? Because of a freak accident? Or because we have the skills that are needed in those markets as can be seen, for example, in patent statistics?

    Finland’s economy is growing fast. Get it? Faster than the American economy, for example. But that isn’t a surprise because it tends to do so in the long run.

    You couldn’t realize what’s a rational argument even if it bit you in the ass, by the way. Here’s a hint: “you learned bullshit on TV” is not considered a valid counter-argument even here. Neither is: “anything good said or proven by statistics about Finland is a lie because Finland in fact is this little shitty excuse for a civilized country”. And, for heaven’s sake: “a queue outside a new toy store proves that Finland’s economy is not growing fast” is unbeliveble even on your standards.

    And nothing here has anything to do with anybody’s smugness. You just think so because you can’t take in even the tiniest amount of critisism against your beloved fatherland.

  • winter

    “Republicans manage to destroy the economy only on a short term,”

    Humm.. with a 4% GDP and growing they sure did destroy the economy. What is the EU GDP? Under 2% growth? With Italy at a negative GDP?

    You liberals in the EU sure are doing a bang up job. Give your selves a pat on the back. Lucky USA, we even have a $10,000 higher per person income for our peasants to spend in Walmart. Yep, it sure sucks to have money.

  • Nirva

    Winter,
    Italy isn’t exactly a prime example of the economy-destroying effects of liberalism. Berlusconi (a corrupt right wing Bush-worshipping idiot) had quite a few years to fix the Italian economy. Needless to say, he failed.

    On the other hand, I have to agree that the US is richer than Finland, and a lot richer than the EU. It’s just silly to deny that fact, even if one hates everything that America represents.

  • Anonymous

    A few facts for those who think that it’s the Republicans, not Demcrats, who know how to run the economy.

    http://www.eriposte.com/economy/other/demovsrep.htm

    Or are they just liberal lies …

    Nirva, who would deny that the USA is richer? Well, perhaps hfb would if she was European …

  • Nirva

    “Besides, I don’t pay 60% to the Finnish government? Who does? The highest I know is closer to 40%, mine is about 10%, and I make quite well..”

    You make quite well, and pay only 10% in taxes? Sorry, but I have a hard time believing it (unless you’re illegally evading taxes), because I had to pay 20% already when I had a shitty wage. And hfb is right, the VAT should be counted as well, even though he’s math doesn’t seem right: first 40% off the brutto, then 22% off the netto = 53.2% taxes.

  • Anonymous

    No Nirva you are wrong. There’s nothing wrong with hfb’s math, there can’t be after all she went through the us educational system.

  • Nirva

    “Nirva, who would deny that the USA is richer? Well, perhaps hfb would if she was European …”

    A lot of people love to twist the numbers to support their agenda. Proving (even with false evidence) that the American economy is doing badly is very important to many lefties.

  • tim73

    hfb: I would advice not to go back to the US. The statistics are pointing to perfect economic shit storm there. Housing bubble is bursting and the Greater Depression is coming. US consumer is dead man walking and has no savings for rainy rays. This is especially bad because these are relatively good times still. Finns almost crashed the economy in the early 90′ with similar but still less horrible economic statistics. I expect the US unemployment jump to 20+ percent and with little social welfare people will riot there. It won’t be pretty.

  • Anonymous

    even though he’s math doesn’t seem right

    Yeah, it’s a much complicated equation. Most people save money, or “save” by paying back housing or study loans, which gives you a redemption. Then again there are the “employee fees”, the part of your salary that goes to the state (mostly) but is invisible to you. If you earn well, 60% in taxes is not unheard of.

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

    I was actually happy to see Lidl here despite of their somewhat questionable practices. The retail sector is still showing traces of cartellization in Finland. There actually are some forms of liberalization that actually work: I have not heard any complaints about the fact that we don’t have phone monopolies any more. What happened to calls to abroad with price liberalization is a very good example (do I need to say that Scandinavia went much further than the US with its love affair with private monopolies). As to the giant succession of bubbles that has been the US economy of last 10 years – hmm, I just think that we’ll have a different idea of the American “success story” in few years. Or, then maybe the extreme Keynesians of 70′s were right and you can live beyond your means indefinitely. I guess we’ll see.

  • Kristian (in Espoo)

    “In German style Lidl doesn’t trust customers themselves to weigh fruits and vegetables correctly. Apparently Germans are too dishonest.”

    Germans aren’t known for stealing, per see… Consider this: One must pay extra for Ketsup packets at fast food restaurants in Germany. I think it’s about 30-ct per packet, albeit a large one.

    Some theorize that if Ketsup were to be liberalized in the Germany fast food industry, then the German would stand next to the Ketsup pump all day…SLURP! SLURP! SLURP! SLURP! SLURP! SLURP! SLURP!

    Just because it’s free.

  • Anonymous

    Re: Wal-mart

    #22 mentioned Wal-mart’s decamping from Germany. I read an interesting New York Times article about this just recently. The link is below (unfortunately now only the abstract is available for free, but the story can, of course, be Googled, etc.).

    http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F2081EFA3B5B0C718CDDA10894DE404482

    Also, I can’t speak for Wal-mart’s impact on local economies, however I have lived in two small rural American communities in which Wal-mart moved in and became a major employer and a community shopping center, and overall, really, the feedback from longtime locals was really very bad. Between abuse of employees, a dismal work/shopping atmosphere (like working/shopping in a flourescent-lit Borg ship), and the lack of local community connections dying along with small businesses and old downtowns, it did seem that Wal-mart’s effect on these communities was very dispiriting, at least culturally and psychologically.

  • http://juggu.blogspot.com Jaggi

    And I thought toys r’ us was for kids below the age of 15. And here i see practically everyone in the line above the age of 20. Looks like the maturity among finns is a bit too late :) )

    Jaggi

  • Zark

    hfb,

    “Nokia is responsible for most of those patents and Nokia also imports a lot of various talent from elsewhere, including the US. I wouldn’t be so smug in assuming that all those patents are derivative of the educational system here in Finland.”

    Well, last year Metso was the single biggest applicant of Finnish patents (125 patents applied), Nokia was second with 109. Total number of patents applied in 2005 was 2059. Nokia’s portion of that was 5.3%. So please, lets not get too smug with our hyperbole.

    In the world Finland usually ranks in the top 4 among most patents/capita among US, Japan and Germany.

    I myself have applied and received one patent – a Finn with Finnish education.

  • Kristian (in Espoo)

    What separates Finland from the US has nothing to do with education; rather it is the entrepreneurial climate. In the US, an individual can invent a product, produce it and benefit from its sale. My favorite example is Rans Corp. of Kansas.

    http://www.ransbikes.com/default.htm

    Rans (and a few others) had a simple, yet unique, idea in the 1970′s, and now it’s hugely successful and probably employ about 30- to 50- people. It’s not a large business, but this isn’t the only such company either; America is filled with such examples.

    In Finland, we have more of a communistic approach: Not surprising, considering our communist history. If someone is more successful, then take it from him. In fact, we’ve developed it into an art form via our tax structures–but bare in mind that much of Europe is actually more reasonable than Finland regarding taxes.

    And it shows. Private small-business entrepreneurism in central European countries is similar to that in the States. It’s not on-par, but it’s not completely slouching either. BTW, patents only tell part of the story. Many patents doesn’t mean there are many successful ideas. But it DOES mean that there’s capital to fund them and resources to invent them. A few short years ago, Finland had neither because its restricted economy.

    And it’s still a problem here. Recently, I had an innovation that I wanted to realize for personal use. It was a fiberglass project with some unique hardware. I figured: no problem, it’ll cost 50-euros maximum…like it would anywhere else. Well, as I discovered, just getting the plywood forms and other materials would have cost hundreds of Euros–and this is a country that produces wood! I had to rethink. Now, I’ll wait for my next trip to Germany to buy the materials.

    It’s not hard to extrapolate from my experience. Imagine someone trying to start a 10K business venture; it’d probably cost him 35K here in Finland. Why even bother thinking about it?

    It’s not only about education and high-tech. Entrepreneurial drive needs to exist at all skill levels—maybe not for every person, but perhaps for more than we’ve got now. And the system needs to be flexible enough to enable it. High priced resources are a major deterrent.

    The EU, though relatively new, is a major potential market for Finland. And making the most of the EU’s potential is not just Finland’s challenge. The other European countries could also stand to improve. It doesn’t necessarily mean switching to an American winner-takes-all or sink-or-swim system, but we at least need to create a better climate by taking away the financial barriers that hold us back.

  • Anonymous

    IN fact there are more entrepeneurs (per capita) in Finland than in the USA, perhaps because, among other things, starting a firm is often subsidied by the state. The taxation is also much less severe for them than regular employers. Finland is not a particularly expensive country. Finland has never been a communist country.

    Krisitian, I may have a point but you’re defenitely lacking in the facts department. Try and say your point by sticking to facts. I don’t say it’s impossible, but the rationale has to be somewhere else.

  • Antti (the redneck one)

    Heh, I wouldn’t say our approach is communistic. It is just designed for the big corporations, so that Ehrnroths, Ahlströms et al. can continue the business as usual and the little guy doesn’t have a chance. OK, in the 60′s and 70′s you had the left-wing radicals all over your face, accusing you being a capitalist oppressor for having, say, a civil engineering firm, owing your house and spouse’s bottom to the bank, but that was just the surface.

    Little companies are usually started by some crazy, but resourceful rednecks, who don’t have a clue, where they are sticking their necks into. In the southern Ostrobotnia they may see that the neighbour’s carpet factory or the machine workshop is doing pretty well and start one of their own too. More educated you get, the more it scares the hell out of you. These small companies usually hold even some meaningful patents. In the big companies the great number of patents are something ridiculous, such as some bloody dent in an electromagnetic shielding enclosure, applied just in order to haul your careless competitor’s ass to the court and get rich, if he happens to put the same dent there..

    Yes, all kinds of backyard engineering and garage innovation suffers a great deal for absolutely outrageous pricing at the Finnish hardware stores.

    I have been ranting enough of the pleasures of making innovations and applying patents, while working for a big company, so I’ll skip it this time. (Damned cake n’coffee + watch with a company logo.)

  • Anonymous

    There has to be a lot crazy rednecks in Finland considering that there are more firms per capita In Finland than about anywhere else within the rich EU.

  • Passer-by

    There has to be a lot crazy rednecks in Finland

    Believe me, there are.

  • EU-civil servant

    37:

    “On the other hand, I have to agree that the US is richer than Finland, and a lot richer than the EU. It’s just silly to deny that fact, even if one hates everything that America represents.”

    Ummm.. who’s richer in America? Someone of those African-American divorced mothers’ who work their asses of for MacDonalds making 5 bucks an hour in a night shift because their day-time job doesn’t bring enough of money?

    American system may be making more money (for those who already have enough) by having no taxes for individuals or companies. Therefore your gvt has less money to support ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES, you are producing 25 PER CENT of the carbon dioxide!! And as your industry has to boom, the US of A is to blame for GLOBAL WARMING! Is that something to be proud of? Thank god, your daddy is making more money, but the Vanuatu-islands are sinking and the Greenland is melting.

    Well.. that will make Finland the number one in the agricultural productivity within decades. Kiss our asses when that happens.

  • http://finnpundit.blogspot.com Finnpundit

    It’s fascinating to see what kind of bigots exist in the EU civil service corps.

    And it’s even more fascinating to note how far they have to dig to come up with any even near-plausible arguments, which always fail when you note that European economies are always dependent on the markets created by the American worker-consumer.

    In either case, when they feel an emotional need to put all their arguments in caps, it seems that reason has nothing to do with those arguments, but pure emotion, only. And that emotion is based on a deep-rooted anti-American bigotry, instilled by the Finnish welfare-state.

  • maksalaatikko

    “By the way, unemployment in Finland just went below 7%. The growth of the GDP for this year will be above 4 if not 5%. Soon the Americans will looking for a model of a succesfull economy once again in northern Europe.” When did they ever look to the Northern Europe enonomy as a model in the first place.

    My Uncle has a Finnish business friend who has been sending him articles stating the above from Finnish newspapers about every threes years, for about the last 20 years. They have a good laugh over it. 3 years later the Finns forget about the last prediction and make the same one again. It never has, and never will, come to fruition.

    I would be scared silly if I knew I had clueless civil servents like EU Civil servant working on my behalf. Most Finns on this board have never hired and employee apparently. In the US the employer cost of hiring an employee in terms of taxes is about 15%-25%. That’s part of the employees salary taken out by the employer before the employee sees it. It’s a tricky way for the government to take money from the workers with out them knowing of it. This markup is much higher in Finland giving the illusion to some they are only taxed %10. This is one reason why employeers are hesitant to hire in Finland.

  • Anonymous

    The USA defenitely looked for an inspiration in Sweden as well as in Great Britain and Germany in the 30s and again in the 60s and 70s.

    My Uncle has a Finnish business friend who has been sending him articles stating the above from Finnish newspapers about every threes years, for about the last 20 years.

    Sounds strange because the situation is now unique. Why would they have written about it earlier. I don’t buy the story, sorry.

    Finnish employers are not hesitent to hire, by the way. Unemployment is going down fast, as has been noted several times.

  • Nirva

    “Ummm.. who’s richer in America? Someone of those African-American divorced mothers’ who work their asses of for MacDonalds making 5 bucks an hour in a night shift because their day-time job doesn’t bring enough of money?”

    I was thinking more along the lines of “average American vs. average European”. Geez, you’re sounding like Michael Moore now.

    “American system may be making more money (for those who already have enough) by having no taxes for individuals or companies.”

    Wow, I didn’t know there were no taxes for individuals or companies in America. Or maybe YOU didn’t know that they actually do have taxes in the US. They just think of taxes as a necessary evil, not as the perfect solution to any problem.

    And what’s with the foaming-at-the-mouth, all-caps environment rant? I made a pretty simple statement that the US is richer than the EU, and then you start talking about global warming as if it could only be caused by rich countries.

  • http://finnpundit.blogspot.com Finnpundit

    58: Unemployment is going down fast, as has been noted several times.

    As has been noted several times, unemployment does go down fast when taxes are cut in the main economic engine of the world: the United States.

    So Finland can thank President Bush for his tax cuts, as they had an effect on Finnish unemployment.

  • Matti

    Oh boy, Finnpundit!! There’s nothing that the rest of the world should be greatful to Junior…come to think of it, there’s nothing Americans should be greatful to him either.

  • http://finnpundit.blogspot.com Finnpundit

    61: So Matti, in other words, reduction in Finnish unemployment is not worthwhile?

  • EU-civil servant

    economy, environment, poor Africa, trade.. that’s all in the same cluster, little macro-thinking, please.

  • Perttu

    Finnpundit:
    Talking about bigoting, your blog is quite interesting.
    You’re only denying American global responsibility with your emotion-talks.

  • http://finnpundit.blogspot.com Finnpundit

    economy, environment, poor Africa, trade.. that’s all in the same cluster,

    That kind of logic is endemic to Finnish Kommie Klutz Kidz, who can’t seem to see any distinctions in world politics.

    64: America is one of the few nations that does take its role responsibly in the global arena. Contrast that to the welfare-states, which rarely recycle the benefits of their productivity out into the world in a reciprocal way. The excess just gets burnt off in easier living standards, – squandered on a sedate population – while the rest of the world toils away.

    It is the American worker-consumer who’s single-handedly raised hundreds of millions of people in the developing world out of poverty. This has been done with great cost and risk to America itself, though the risks so far have been outweighed by the benefits, making it worthwhile for all concerned.

    All countries like Finland are willing to do is increase foreign aid (a source for corruption) and some puny fair trade practices, then pat themselves on the back for “helping” the developing world.

  • http://www.axis-of-aevil.net/ hfb

    Kristian #49 – Exactly, though the entrepreneurial aspect wasn’t what I was thinking of specifically, it is a part of the whole philosophy that is important here, the idea of the ‘self-made’ man. America is the land of possibility, real or imagined. Finland always seems to be the land of lowered expectations and limitations. People/journalists/etc have been predicting the doom of the US for its lack of numbers of science graduates and Ph.d.s for decades and yet the doom never seems to come. I would prefer the defense budget be funneled into education myself, but throwing money at a problem that requires a change in philosophy is a guaranteed loser. I was one of the gloomy outlook people but I’m a bit more optimistic these days. So many seem to be predicting the immanent death of the US any day now …. but economics appears to elude those who look only for the result they wish for most.

    And, I, too, have wondered about the price of wood here when replacing a simple pine plank wood floor in a small room about 10 sq.m cost almost 2k euro. Go figure. The anonymous dude underneath your response clearly has never tried to set up a business in Finland either.

    EU-Civil Servant – And to think you just got a pay raise? Wow. I can see the Finnish educational system success all the way from here. Just so you know, Vanuatu isn’t technically sinking per se, the sea level is instead rising.

  • Perttu

    HFB: Getting technical:
    sink ” To deteriorate in quality or condition”
    And that’s Oxford English.

  • Anonymous

    As has been noted several times, unemployment does go down fast when taxes are cut in the main economic engine of the world: the United States.

    The difference is of course that that happened only in your fantasy world. Finland’s unemployment figures have gone down relatively rapidly for years now.

    The anonymous dude underneath your response clearly has never tried to set up a business in Finland either.

    Heh, heh, “To hell with the facts, I after all know that Finland is this shitty country of drunks where everything is done wrong”. Idiotic, but pretty much in line with your usual way of argumenting.

    Let’s take again slowly:
    -There are more entrepreneurs (per capita) in Finland than in the USA.
    -New firms are often subsidized by the state
    -The taxation is much less severe for entrepreneurs than regular employers

    And yes I have personal experience of starting a firm. But you don’t. Your opinions stem from your agressive bigotry.

  • EU Civil Servant

    64:
    economy, environment, poor Africa, trade.. that’s all in the same cluster,

    That kind of logic is endemic to Finnish Kommie Klutz Kidz, who can’t seem to see any distinctions in world politics.

    As a postgraduate of world politics, I would like to ask you to give us an example of distincting world politics? Are you really saying that global economy has nothing to do with global politics? You should read a bit more of Keohane and Smith before such an argument.

    You are saying that USA is taking its role in global arena. How?
    USA is not giving money for ODA. How much -again- is the USA paying annually for the UN? Why is it so that USA isn’t paying attention to ICC or Kyoto Protocol? Did the USA take its responsibility in the Doha Round? Susan Schawab said: “I can’t see anything on the table”. The problem is that USA is trying to act as a world police but is been misguided by the fact that it should happen in a cooperation with the rest of the world. The only reason for such stubborness is the economy. Anything that would help rest of the world, would hurt the American business.

  • Anonymous

    The american business is all ready going down the toilet.

    kinda reminds me of the collapse of soviet union.

    Mr. Bush tear this idiocy down

  • tim73

    “America is the land of possibility, real or imagined. Finland always seems to be the land of lowered expectations and limitations.”

    You are starting to sound like winter, hard cold facts do not matter anyway. You are just trying to justify your set of reasons going back. Finland is this and that blah blah….no, it is not. Take a good look into the mirror.

    Tell me, which country has trade surplus? Finland or USA? US social mobility is lower than here (meaning the poor stays poor). It is no more land of opportunity, the rest of world has been catching up with USA, while USA has been going down a lot and there are now plenty of better “land of opportunities”.

    Tell me, why the US infant mortality is HIGHER THAN IN CUBA and well behind of European nations. Something must be really rotten in the America.

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

    It is the new, caring conservatism: feelings matter, facts don’t register… It’s a universal Western phenomenon but the dumbing down of American conservatism has been especially rapid. Maybe something to do with fundamentalist religion combined with the usual shortsightedness of the corporate elite: in the short term it looks more effective to hire the more moronic kind of politicians but in the long term it will prove disastrous. Well, we don’t think beyond the next quarter these days.

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

    A link below on the subject of whether it is possible to live beyond your means for ever. Looks like the US housing bubble is bursting and bursting very fast. We might have grim times coming in the global economy…

    http://www.rgemonitor.com/blog/roubini/143257

  • http://finnpundit.blogspot.com Finnpundit

    69: These diatribes from the EU civil servant are all the more amusing in that they’re simply ignorant of the American point-of-view. To wit:

    You are saying that USA is taking its role in global arena. How?
    USA is not giving money for ODA.

    That’s exactly the kind of state-to-state development aid which harms the developing world so much. It only breeds corruption, dependency, and creates an entrenched elite who know nothing about making economies thrive, simply because they know nothing about running businesses, due to the easy handouts from states like Finland.

    How much -again- is the USA paying annually for the UN?

    Actually, the US is the largest contributor to the UN budget, but even that’s a problem, as the UN is such a corrupt institution. Why should democracies support an institution where two-thirds of the membership consist of non-democracies?

    Why is it so that USA isn’t paying attention to ICC or Kyoto Protocol?

    The ICC is based on European law. Why should the US Constitution be subsumed in favor of an inferior body of law? And the Kyoto Protocol is an absurd treaty that has nothing to do with the environment, but was simply an attempt by the EU to artificially slow down the US economy, so that the EU could have a chance to compete more effectively. Remember Liisa Jaakonsaari’s comments about “tying Gulliver down”?

    Did the USA take its responsibility in the Doha Round? Susan Schawab said: “I can’t see anything on the table”.

    The Doha Round failed mainly because Europeans did not want to cut agricultural subsidies as much as the US. The little that was offered was not enough, prompting Schwab’s retort.

    The collapse of Doha will result in smaller, bilateral trade treaties all around the world, encouraging the growth of regional blocs. The US will dominate all those blocs, simply because it is such an important export destination. However, there will be many smaller and weaker states outside of those blocs which will never be able to have access, so the collapse of Doha was a tragedy, but mostly for poorer states. If only the welfare states of Europe hadn’t been so stubborn, and so greedy, about protecting their subsidized systems….

    The problem is that USA is trying to act as a world police but is been misguided by the fact that it should happen in a cooperation with the rest of the world.

    The US acts in cooperation with many different countries, so that statement is completely false. And to wait for unanimity for action would mean that no action would never be taken: a recipe for disaster.

    The only reason for such stubborness is the economy. Anything that would help rest of the world, would hurt the American business.

    It’s the economy, stupid. Anything that really helps the rest of the world is always done through the strength and power of businesses (and it doesn’t matter which countries’ businesses). Government bureaucrats like you only stand in the way, and cause most of the harm in the world.

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

    Ok, there goes the New Year’s resolution never to address braindead trolls, but really, how silly can you get, Finnpundit? Private business is absolutely dependent on societies being orderly, law abiding and distributing wealth at certain minimum that doesn’t at least actively insult people’s sense of decency. Without those things, you get anarchy and revolution. In other words, private companies need the state desperately much, and it would be intellectually infantile to artificially see private enterprise in isolation from the rest of the society. Then again, if you are a modern American conservative you would be intellectually infantile.

  • Kristian (in Espoo)

    #49, #50 & #51

    Anonymous–

    “Finland has never been a communist country.”

    But we DID have 15%- to 20%- support for Communists until 1990. Afterwards, many former Communist Party members re-invented themselves in the SPD. This ‘communist history’ should not be surprising, because the previous Kekkonen era, with its strong ties to the Soviets, didn’t exactly emancipate us from such ideologies.

    I know, it was realpolitik of the times. But we weren’t called Kekkoslovakia for nothing! ;)

    “IN fact there are more entrepeneurs (per capita) in Finland than in the USA”

    Sure, I see hoards of them every time I cruise on Silja Line and Superfast Ferries.

    It goes like this: A private individual here in Finland needs a car. Cars are overpriced here in Finland, so the individual hires an ‘entrepreneur’ to fetch one in Germany. He pays a fee for his services; but he also pays an exorbitant tax when registering the car here in Finland. That tax is based on Finland’s valuation of the automobile; not the purchase price. Here’s a sample calculation for a used car:

    Purchase price 8.000 Euros
    Entrepreneur’s fee 1.000
    Finland’s ‘registration tax’ 7.000

    Total 16.000

    There you have it: One car for the price of two.

    Antti–

    “In the big companies the great number of patents are something ridiculous [...] and the little guy doesn’t have a chance. [...] all kinds of backyard engineering and garage innovation suffers a great deal for absolutely outrageous pricing at the Finnish hardware stores.”

    Egg-xactly. My previous post was referring to the efforts of small individuals who could aspire to potentially grow businesses–not necessarily high-tech–that employ people. And sure, as Anonymous states: “The taxation is also much less severe for them than regular employers.”

    True, but with prices and taxes like we have, it’s necessary. But it doesn’t help the backyard engineer one bit. One thing that SHOULD make it easier here though, is that having public healthcare makes one less thing for the entrepreneur to worry about. A quite important thing, in fact.

    Anyway, Anonymous, I’ve spec-ed a larger building project (much larger than my little fiberglass thingy). It’s way more expensive here. The materials are outrageous–especially wood, but many other things too.

    Wood kills me the most though, because we produce it here in Finland. It should be my birthright to receive it almost free! Egg-xagerating of course ;)

    Seriously though, I could probably get Finnish wood (or other Finnish building products) cheaper in some other country. It’s only a rip-off here, where it’s produced.

  • EU Civil Servant

    Finnpundit:
    USA is NOT the biggest contributor to the UN. That is Japan. The UN is corrupted because of its lax-feelings to reform. The USA is the one who is not active for reformation. the US!

    DDA failed because the USA wasn’t flexible at all. Not Europe. The agricultural products were only a part of it. NAMA services come a long way as well.

    Anti-ODA: That is plainly your point of view and could be agreed or disagreed.

    You know Finnpundit: Tobin tax would help. Tax for money transfers across the nation states.
    You had a long discussion about my emotions before and now you naively call me stupid. Are you running out of plausible arguments yourself?

  • EU Civil Servant

    Finnpundit:

    ICC – it’s based on European law because USA wanted to stay out of it.

  • http://finnpundit.blogspot.com Finnpundit

    77: Actually, if you knew anything about the United States, you would know that “It’s The Economy, Stupid” was a very famous campaign slogan for Bill Clinton during the 1992 presidential campaign (along with “Where’s The Beef?”) Bush senior was criticized for not paying enough attention to the economy, and lost a lot of votes because of it. The slogan specifically means that government policies, welfare programs (or lack of them), and other political issues are never as important as the state of an economy in any part of the world. This Finland continues to ignore in all its “foreign aid” programs in developing nations.

    And you are completely off on the UN budget. The budget is based on percentages of GNPs, and the US continues to pay the largest single share. Japan might aggregately pay more on those kinds of programs affiliated with the UN that are considered discretionary, but that’s simply because of Japan’s inability to field any significant armed forces in any troubled spots around the world (the US does that for them), which has historically meant that Japanese foreign policy efforts are mostly expressed in financial outlays.

    And the US is the main force behind the reformation of the UN. You give no evidence for your claim, but I can give you several, beginning with the Oil-For-Food investigations, which get scant attention in Europe, and continuing with the investigations into Kofi Annan’s family connections to major UN contracts. (We can pile on the other investigations: almost all of the UN’s programs are tainted with corruption.) The only one pressuring the pursuit of such investigations is America’s UN ambassador, John Bolton, whom Europeans love to attack simply because he’s uncovered so many embarrassing details of European collusion in UN corruption (Benon Sevan ring a bell?)

    And it would not be surprising for an EU civil servant to claim that the US was behind the collapse of Doha: that spin went into motion the minute EU officials walked out of the final meeting (is it any wonder why the US refused to join Kyoto? The same thing would have happened there, with every benchmark of those unattainable goals missed). Europeans simply would not drop their agricultural subsidies. Pure and simple. And we of course know why: most European political leaders would be voted out of office during the next elections if they did agree to it. In other words, European cowardice won the day, due to lack of European leadership.

    As to taxing money transfer across nation states, if figures an EU apparatchik like you would latch on to that, as the vibrant, globally-linked economy of the US means that it would be the US consumer who would pay the lion’s share of that tax. Besides that, any problems that call for increased taxation as a solution simply reflects European welfare-statist philosophy. The developing world should not benefit from our taxation. They should benefit from free trade, and from more after-tax monies spent by our consumers.

    And the ICC, no, it’s not based on European law simply because the US stayed out of it. The US favored the ICC originally, but found that parliamentary Europeans have a habit of changing laws to suit the political winds of the times (and the particular political wind at the time was anti-Americanism), and at the whims of parliaments. There’s no strong constitutional law in Europe. In fact, the laws tend to be as flimsy as the way Europeans conduct their trials: without juries.

    You must be new to Phil’s blog, as you’re quite behind the learning curve in understanding Americans. Stick around, you might learn something.

  • EU Civil Servant

    =) brand-new, but not with knowing the US, I’ve lived down there.

    It’s not only Europe who claims the US of the DDA-failure, the speeches given by Koizumi and his fellows seemed to be as regretful as European ones.

    ICC: The obstacle to the US seems to be the fact that it could sue American citizens. Staying outside of International criminal court means that US-citizens are double-standardized.

    As you seem to have knowledge on DDA, could you let us know what the USA was ready to do for agricultural sector? As far as I know, nothing at all. EU-officials of Doha walked out because Schwab and her fellas were not ready to negotiate. No signs of any kind of flexibility at all.

    You really think that FTA is the goal for better future in the
    southern world? They’ve been oppressed long enough for keyneysian western economy-culture, it’s just doesn’t work. Tobin tax would ease their economy.

    UN-reform = reform for security council which is based on cold war-reality. Cold war doesn’t exist anywhere except on the Korean Peninsula. Where’s the permanent seat for Latin America, Japan, Germany? Oil-for-food, how did that turned out to be? Oil-for-yankees and “democracy”-for-Iraqis..

  • EU Civil Servant

    “If I know anything about the US”, how the hell am I supposed to know some slogans been used 10 years ago? The rhetorics of the elections in the US doesn’t really have a role from this far, as the elections don’t seem to work in the USA in the first place..

  • EU Civil Servant

    Flimsy code of conduct in the European court. I’ve not idea what is it that you’re talking about. Which court are you referring to?
    It’s pretty obvious that laws are made by politicians and politicians follow their winds of political orientation. Which one basically is “anti-american” one? The parties are as anti-American in Europe as the parties (the only two that can be called parties) in the US are pro-American. Pro-American means the neoliberal GPE, which makes rich people richer and poor people poorer.
    Well, just wait. We’re unfortunately dependent on your system in “the Old Europe”, but we’re enjoying it with real global values, where money just isn’t everything.

    Thank God that Mexico is finally invading California back, maybe that’s where the new American revolution will start, if not any sooner somewhere in Iran…

  • Petteri

    Tsk, tsk, poor EU trying to beam light into Finnpundit’s dark attic! Hehehehe, many are the victims that Fp has exhausted and there will be many more to come, I suppose!

    I have somewhat bad news to you all. Finnpundit apparently has a twin brother bloggin under the name Mike’s America. If your life is too perfect and you can’t handle all that bliss that surrounds you, go visit Mike’s. That will cure you in a hurry.

  • JG

    Nr 78, do you actually understand the differences between the Anglo-Saxon common law system and European systems of civil law (and indeed the variations between these systems, e.g. in France compared to Norden compared to e.g. Germany) based on Roman law?

    I am not going to write an essay comparing the differences and discussing the various merits of the different systems, but such a generalisation as that the civil law systems’ far far far lower reliance on common law style juries therefore making it less “just” is very very wrong and shows a simplified understanding of the matter.

  • issi

    Entry: “Toy shop opens”.
    Comments: “blah blah America whine squeak Finland sob economy poop welfare state stupid poor economy sucks personal insult.”

    Diversity of comments from post to post is amusing me great deal.

    I visited BR in Stockholm or somewhere once because it was said to be great toy store. Disappointment, there was all the same Mattel and whatever big toy industry stuff as in local Prisma. Annoys me how difficuld it is to buy something original for kids from anywhere, “daddy brough this barbie/pokemon from Belgium…”. Especially on work related trips there is not time to shop around much.
    Small towns of Russia is about the only place to find toys with clear national feature.

    More than big chains I would welcome small independent toy stores with local specialities.

    Yes, I know what comes next, ” blah blah taxes sqeak welfare…”

  • EU Civil Servant

    =) Issi, Maailma kylässä -festivals in May have nice local toys from around the world. I just bought this cute green elephant for my god-daughter this year. And as for taxes included in it… KIDDING!

  • http://finnpundit.blogspot.com Finnpundit

    JG: it is an oversimplification, to be sure, but mostly for brevity’s sake. Yet some clear fault lines are noteworthy: countries with civil law codes tend to adopt welfare statist systems more readily, while those with common law systems tend to be more open to free-market approaches.

    Civil codes simply don’t address the conflicts of interests inherent with state-appointed judges the way common law systems do. The fact that the codes are old or Roman or Napoleonic doesn’t mean that they’re worthwhile. A constitutional system founded on checks-and-balances has proven its superiority in dealing with such conflicts of interests.

    Keep in mind how easy it was for European fascists states before WW2, – and communist states after that – to co-opt previous civil codes into their bodies of law. Common law systems have yet to be tested in the same way, but I’d imagine they’d fare much better in keeping the state in check.

  • JG

    Nr 87, Hi Finnpundit. I do understand on the need for brevity on here! I could write for hours on some subjects!

    However, I again disagree with your assesement of civil vs common law systems. Regarding the idea that civil law regimes tend to adopt welfare state models is rather interesting, but I can see no link. I would cite the UK, Ireland or Canada as exaples here (also bear in mind that the civil law system is rather more common, although of course many ex-British colonies have inherited common law).

    Regarding common law’s appointment of judges. Many (quite likely most) common law regimes involve the state appointment of judges. The USA is rather unusual in its use of elections for some judge positions. Many civil law lands use independent appointment procedures also (e.g. independent body etc). Others do have more centralised government appointment of judges. However, it matters less as the civil law system tends to require judges to be less interpretational and therefore less likely to follow any political agenda than for instance an elected judge. This is also the case as they do not have to rely on precedent and rule generally on a case according to the relevant code or laws (regardless of past decisions on the same matters).

    I would imagine that common law systems would (unfortunately) be equally malable in the case of some kind of dictatorship. I do not see for instance the Pakistani courts rallying to the cause of democracy.

    Anyway, again I have not been brief! Oops.

  • http://finnpundit.blogspot.com Finnpundit

    Hmm. You’re examples are a bit problematic, as the UK, Ireland and Canada tend to use common law, and are considered part of the Anglo-American, mercantilist, free-market tradition, in spite of their dablings in welfare-statism.

    And Pakistan, though a former British colony, falls completely as an example, due to the influence of sharia law.

    I find that the malleability of civil law has been historically proven by fascist and communist European states. Constitutional law has also seen a major test of strength in the American Civil War, which was far more wrenching an experience in many ways. Civil law will always be subject to the whims of the state, which means it cannot be trusted as being just.

    The main argument is still whether the ICC should be accorded the kind of recognition some say it should. It’s failures in the trial of Milosevic (who, by the way, had some rather good legal arguments in his defense, based on civil law) is a case in point.

  • JG

    The UK, Ireland (less so) and Canada all have welfare states and are all common law (except Quebec and Scotland is a miss-mash of the two of course). There are countless exaples of civil law countries that are mercantilist and free market economies, including Finland, France, Germany, Italy etc etc etc etc.

    Sure, Pakistan has Sharia. But that is religious and family matters in Pakistan I believe (although it’s been a while i confess since studying anything to do with Pakistan). I believe the bulk of their legal system rests on common law system. But regardless, I am sure it would not be harder for a dictator to ignore/overule/silence a common law court system. Should any of the communist totalitarian eastern European states had a common law system, I am sure the regimes would have found ways to influence them (i.e. it would be a good idea to judge the way we want or you will shortly be holidaying in a gulag in Siberia). I think it is really unrelated that these countries had the civil law system.

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