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Finland proves high taxes + socialism = happiness?





handfleisch
There's a lot of support for this formula, if you model it on northern Europe. Here is just one analysis from a pundit in the USA:

Quote:
Finland! Land of the world's no.-1 education and health care systems. You get what you pay for and Finland's 60-percent tax levy gets a lot. Almost no crime. Or the expensive prisons that are necessary for failing to fund excellent education and health care for the poor. Because properly educated and nurtured, the poor become middle class and middle class people generally don't commit crime.

Gallup just put out a study showing that citizens of countries with the highest tax rates are also the world's happiest people. Honest truth. Folks in the Netherlands, Finland and Norway pay the world's highest tax tabs, but also rank as the least stressed, happiest, most contented humans. The Land of Liberty pays much less tax, but only lands at the No. 11 spot on the happiness scale. We are happier than Somalia, however.

Two factors figure. First, the tax rates are deceiving. Adding what Americans pay through the nose for health care and college tuition our tax bills gets us to a "true tax" more or less more than what Nordic-types spend. When we're done with the great American health care shakedown, we have no more disposable dough than they.

But Americans are stuck with all the fret and worry while our happier Nordic brothers sing-song their days away knowing they'll not go unattended in a waiting room or abandoned to eat cat food as aging seniors. And they jiggle their kronors in their pockets without as much as a care for Johan's college bill.

Bliss, it turns out, is bliss. And here, bliss is missed. They play, and we fret over medical and college and what the heck happens to us when we're Grandpa Simpson.


On edit, forgot link: www.the-signal.com/news/article/13959/
deanhills
Profile of the people is completely different from North America. They can do with less luxuries, less people have cars, the culture is completely different. Not all of them are happy either. Depends where and who you are.
SpellcasterDX
^Agreed. It's like communist Russia. It was working fairly well till it all came crashing down. I don't think you can force a new system on a country that's been using capitalism for a long time. It's just too different, and too radical. We're different from them.
handfleisch
SpellcasterDX wrote:
^Agreed. It's like communist Russia. It was working fairly well till it all came crashing down. I don't think you can force a new system on a country that's been using capitalism for a long time. It's just too different, and too radical. We're different from them.


Well Finland has very little in common with the Russia of the former Soviet Union in that way, it's not a forced, rigid Stalinist system that is ready to come crashing down, as you say. To the contrary, it is a stable member of Europe and the West; it is a mixed economy (capitalist also) like Sweden or the rest of Europe, it's just has a bit more components of socialism than the rest. So I have to disagree with this point. Finland's, and for that matter most of continental Europe's example gives a lot to think about in terms of economic systems and general well-being and happiness of the people.
deanhills
Their education system would be the most essential part to look at. The Germans also have an excellent education system. To have a culture that can provide that kind of "happiness" you need to educate your children in a different way. It is not something that can be imposed from the outside in, it comes from within. Their attitudes are also completely different, less aggressive.
binsmyth
man if it is like that then that is really good. they are using it really good. I hope it's same in other countries too.
jmi256
deanhills wrote:
Profile of the people is completely different from North America. They can do with less luxuries, less people have cars, the culture is completely different. Not all of them are happy either. Depends where and who you are.


I also agree. American culture tends to produce people who strive for more and therefore have high expectations due to the central idea that if you work hard you'll get ahead. The people of Finland, however, are stuck in an economic system that doesn't reward individual effort all that much. Therefore they have less opportunities and thereby much lower expectations in life. And when you have low expectations, it's hard to not to meet them.
deanhills
jmi256 wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Profile of the people is completely different from North America. They can do with less luxuries, less people have cars, the culture is completely different. Not all of them are happy either. Depends where and who you are.


I also agree. American culture tends to produce people who strive for more and therefore have high expectations due to the central idea that if you work hard you'll get ahead. The people of Finland, however, are stuck in an economic system that doesn't reward individual effort all that much. Therefore they have less opportunities and thereby much lower expectations in life. And when you have low expectations, it's hard to not to meet them.
Agreed. And those in Sweden, Norway or Finland who have higher expectations and seek greater opportunities, most likely move to other countries like the United States or Canada to realize them.
Hogwarts
deanhills wrote:
Agreed. And those in Sweden, Norway or Finland who have higher expectations and seek greater opportunities, most likely move to other countries like the United States or Canada to realize them.

Doesn't that basically jeopardize their growth? Natural selection of the lazy >_>
jmi256
Hogwarts wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Agreed. And those in Sweden, Norway or Finland who have higher expectations and seek greater opportunities, most likely move to other countries like the United States or Canada to realize them.

Doesn't that basically jeopardize their growth? Natural selection of the lazy >_>


Exactly. But I think it's even worse. Not only does it incentivize the best and brightest to seek better opportunities elsewhere, it also causes those who remain to work toward a lower standard. It's basic human nature. If there is no reward for working harder, why would they bother? There will be a certain percentage who are hardwired to strive to succeed, but they would most likely leave.
handfleisch
jmi256 wrote:
Hogwarts wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Agreed. And those in Sweden, Norway or Finland who have higher expectations and seek greater opportunities, most likely move to other countries like the United States or Canada to realize them.

Doesn't that basically jeopardize their growth? Natural selection of the lazy >_>


Exactly. But I think it's even worse. Not only does it incentivize the best and brightest to seek better opportunities elsewhere, it also causes those who remain to work toward a lower standard. It's basic human nature. If there is no reward for working harder, why would they bother? There will be a certain percentage who are hardwired to strive to succeed, but they would most likely leave.


That's some really funny logic. Why do you all think they need to "seek better opportunities elsewhere" when they are the most satisfied people in the world already? What evidence do you have that the best and brightest are fleeing Norway, and that those remaining are working "toward a lower standard"?
Finn
jmi256 wrote:
Hogwarts wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Agreed. And those in Sweden, Norway or Finland who have higher expectations and seek greater opportunities, most likely move to other countries like the United States or Canada to realize them.

Doesn't that basically jeopardize their growth? Natural selection of the lazy >_>


Exactly. But I think it's even worse. Not only does it incentivize the best and brightest to seek better opportunities elsewhere, it also causes those who remain to work toward a lower standard. It's basic human nature. If there is no reward for working harder, why would they bother? There will be a certain percentage who are hardwired to strive to succeed, but they would most likely leave.


I just have to reply this, as a Finn. I have been asked to work for Google and Amazon and turned both down. I have a friend who accepted a position in a major software company in Canada and he can't wait to be back.

You see, I don't care about the things you apparently do. I see the American Dream as the greatest hoax there ever was. The USA has almost no upwards mobility in its class system what-so-ever. The promise of advancing greatly is basically just lottery. Yes, some people win the first prize. So what.

Yes, I pay a high tax rate. I also don't have a superior at work. I don't have to submit to anyone, not at work, not outside of it. I feel free in a very fundamental manner. I would never ever trade what I have for money or position. It's like trading freedom for a golden chain.

I'm happy to pay the taxes, btw. Many of us don't think about the money we make before taxes. It's irrelevant. What we get on our account each month is a _the_ salary. It's as simple as that.

In addition, the way it look from here, your country is almost certainly going to go through a revolution or a civil war because of how you've gone about it, leaving your brothers and sisters behind. It is not something you should do, because it's fundamentally wrong. It is also stupid, because those who fall off the wagon will bring about trouble as we can see from your full prisons and the riots on your streets.

Yes, maybe we're just different. Maybe we here up north have been taught to value what really matters while you chase after a dream that is less than you got at the Soviet Union. At least there they gave you a medal for all your hard work.

And so that you know: Finland is a country which was recently agrarian as well as Lutheran. Hard work is seen as a value and as a privilege. So to return the compliment, you called us lazy, well, we thing you live under a totalitarian evil regime that makes the life of all too many a struggle for survival and is an affront to human dignity.
menino
I think the Finnish people, and the Swedish as well, as well the Dutch people don't have that want or greed for money, (as much as other countries).
They are happy as is, unlike the rest of the world who are greedy (for lack of a better word).
In the Western countries, the culture and attitude is much different from the European countries.
Europeans work hard, but do not stress themselves out, while its a little different in Western countries, in my opinion, and this gets mistaken for Euorpeans being lazy. A lot of European countries do not have 24/7 shops, because they don't really need to have it. Most stores close up quite early in the day in Europe, and do not entertain the last customer even.... at least my experience in some European countries.
I just agree with Deanhills on a broader level in that the people of Europe and USA have different culture, and attitudes as well.
Hello_World
If I had to emmigrate for some reason, I would head to somewhere like Finland over US.

I don't think it is human nature to take a gamble for a low chance of huge riches over a certainty of a good life standard.

I think people strive so hard for money because of the real fear of what will happen if they become old without assetts, or unemployed. Without this fear, people work hard for pride, status and satisfaction.
deanhills
Hello_World wrote:
If I had to emmigrate for some reason, I would head to somewhere like Finland over US.

I don't think it is human nature to take a gamble for a low chance of huge riches over a certainty of a good life standard.

I think people strive so hard for money because of the real fear of what will happen if they become old without assetts, or unemployed. Without this fear, people work hard for pride, status and satisfaction.
Well if you are used to the southern Hemisphere with it's consistency in daylight time and plenty of sunshine, Finland may be a huge shock to the system for moving their permanently. The United States is enormous and we only get to hear about the sensational negative parts. There are beautiful places where one does not need to worry about all the overall shortcomings. I'd probably want to go towards the south of Arizona in the mountains near the border of Mexico or around the Gulf. Also some great places in the mountains in California. There are places in Hawaii too that are off the crazy vibe grid.
handfleisch
Finn wrote:
jmi256 wrote:
Hogwarts wrote:
deanhills wrote:
Agreed. And those in Sweden, Norway or Finland who have higher expectations and seek greater opportunities, most likely move to other countries like the United States or Canada to realize them.

Doesn't that basically jeopardize their growth? Natural selection of the lazy >_>


Exactly. But I think it's even worse. Not only does it incentivize the best and brightest to seek better opportunities elsewhere, it also causes those who remain to work toward a lower standard. It's basic human nature. If there is no reward for working harder, why would they bother? There will be a certain percentage who are hardwired to strive to succeed, but they would most likely leave.


I just have to reply this, as a Finn. I have been asked to work for Google and Amazon and turned both down. I have a friend who accepted a position in a major software company in Canada and he can't wait to be back.

You see, I don't care about the things you apparently do. I see the American Dream as the greatest hoax there ever was. The USA has almost no upwards mobility in its class system what-so-ever. The promise of advancing greatly is basically just lottery. Yes, some people win the first prize. So what.

Yes, I pay a high tax rate. I also don't have a superior at work. I don't have to submit to anyone, not at work, not outside of it. I feel free in a very fundamental manner. I would never ever trade what I have for money or position. It's like trading freedom for a golden chain.

I'm happy to pay the taxes, btw. Many of us don't think about the money we make before taxes. It's irrelevant. What we get on our account each month is a _the_ salary. It's as simple as that.

In addition, the way it look from here, your country is almost certainly going to go through a revolution or a civil war because of how you've gone about it, leaving your brothers and sisters behind. It is not something you should do, because it's fundamentally wrong. It is also stupid, because those who fall off the wagon will bring about trouble as we can see from your full prisons and the riots on your streets.

Yes, maybe we're just different. Maybe we here up north have been taught to value what really matters while you chase after a dream that is less than you got at the Soviet Union. At least there they gave you a medal for all your hard work.

And so that you know: Finland is a country which was recently agrarian as well as Lutheran. Hard work is seen as a value and as a privilege. So to return the compliment, you called us lazy, well, we thing you live under a totalitarian evil regime that makes the life of all too many a struggle for survival and is an affront to human dignity.


Great post, Finn. The fact that people in countries with higher taxes and more government services are happier just drives these free-market extremists crazy, and they will rationalize it and deny it until they're blue in the face.

The mentality that harsh work conditions and regressive tax codes in the USA somehow makes everything better in the long run is a slaver's attitude toward slaves. I doubt there are many other first world countries where such foolish ideas gain credence, but in the USA we have this kind of nonsense pushed 24/7 in the media. They spread the lie that anyone in Finland or Sweden who wants to get ahead has to emigrate to the US. It is, as you point out, just ridiculously untrue. There is no mass emigration of ambitious Finns or anything like that. In fact most of the civilized world has recognized that you can't have a ruthless profit motive controlling access to health care and things like that, and the best way is a fair, progressive tax structure paying for national insurance.
ocalhoun
The high-tax/high-happiness correlation may not be as causal as you make it out to be.

There could be (and probably are) other factors at play.
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