June 16, 2011

Finnish Content

From Slate:
And the city with the best quality of life is … Helsinki! 
At least, that’s what British magazine Monocle declared after taking a look at a number of urban centers around the globe. The magazine bases its annual top-25 list on a variety of factors, aiming to find the city that is the best to call home. 
Helsinki moved up four spots from last year’s rankings, beating out Zurich (no. 2) and Copenhagen (no. 3) for the top spot. The full list will be published later this summer. 
Helsinki has only about 600,000 residents, allowing for a tight community and a certain “Finnish way to do things” that remains intact despite highly influential global trends. Helsinki is also spared some the problem of suburban sprawl that many other cities do, allowing for easy escape to one of the many islands off Finland’s coast. 
Finnish design also had a lot to do with the selection, as would be expected from an international news and design magazine. “An unorthodox but well-deserving champion, the Finnish capital stands out for its fundamental courage to rethink its urban ambitions, and for possessing the talent, ideas and guts to pull it off,” the magazine writes.


Hmmhmmmhmm, a bunch of Finns who like the "Finnish way to do things" sounds pretty suspicious to me. Isn't there some sort of EU regulation against that?

Anyway, one interesting point that progressives have a hard time wrapping their heads around is that ethnic homogeneity, such as Finland enjoys relative to most other modern countries, is conducive to disinterested reform and progress. In a diverse polity, in contrast, ethnic score settling contributes to gridlock. If Helsinki decides to "rethink its urban ambitions," well, it's a lot easier to get everybody on board than it is in a diverse community where ethnic activists all have their hands out.

40 comments:

Canadian Cincinnatus said...

One feature of Helsinki is that Tallinn, with its cheap booze, is only a short (1 hr) drunken ferry ride over. The cost of living (especially alcohol) in Helsinki is sky high, but the prices in Tallinn are quite reasonable.

Anonymous said...

Tallinn's old town has some quite nice architecture.

Helsinki is a nice city, though the whole Scandy minimalist design ethos is oppressive and tiring after a while. Also, few good restaurants.

Nanonymous said...

I like the way Christina Gossmann phrases it: "Finnish way to do things" that remains intact despite highly influential global trends." You see, "despite liberal push for a mass immigration from Third World countries" does not sound quite as polite for Slate. Readers' sensibilities need to be protected!

Anonymous said...

I'm a quarter Finnish and naturally take some pride in Finland being recognized as a well functioning society of intelligent and creative people. That said, I wonder whether these city rankings account for the fact that Helsinki spends half the year frozen and in the dark.

hlime said...

Zurich slipped. Needs more Borgias; a dash of Banco Ambrosiano; 3 tbsp bunga bunga.

Anonymous said...

The problem is that Slate readers will read that and say "ha see socialism is best" and not "see European monoethnic societies are best."

En Finn said...

Recently discovered that I am part Finnish.

I've met the odd Finn in high-tech previously, but am not sure how I'm suppose to feel about Finns and these periodic Finn posts now.

Will my kids benefit if they sneak some ethnic Finn reference in their college application?

Anonymous said...

Having grown up in diverse America, an all-white community would not so happy for me. All white communities can be quiet and nice but dull as hell.
I would be happiest in a world that's 80% white, 5% Asian, 5% enlightened Arab, 5% Hispanic nams(they make good tacos and someone has to mow the lawn), 4.9% misc, and 0.1% black(someone's gotta boogie woogie). Jews make culture interesting, but too many are leftist, but I'm all for anti-leftist Jews.

dearieme said...

Does Helsinki get mozzies?

Cotton said...

"Helsinki has only about 600,000 residents, allowing for a tight community and a certain “Finnish way to do things” that remains intact despite highly influential global trends."

An influx of third-worlders and 'no-go' areas for native Finns will sort that right out.

Anonymous said...

"All white communities can be quiet and nice but dull as hell."

So you just completely missed Winter's Bone?

DanJ said...

I'm a Finn and once spent a few months in Helsinki, courtesy of our armed forces. Helsinki is a nice enough city, but I don't see how it would qualify for "world's most liveable", with the poor climate we have. I'd nominate some city on the northern shores of the Mediterranean instead. Sorry.

Anonymous said...

Careful - don't anyone mention the "rural folk of Finland" or some angry Nord will strawman that into "the Saami and the Suomi are the same group" and get really mad.

Anonymous said...

"Jews make culture interesting, but too many are leftist, but I'm all for anti-leftist Jews."

----------

Even non-leftist Jews are still leftist (trust me, because I am one!). Even though I intellectually agree with a variety of very conservative principles, as soon as I start watching a documentary about migrant Mexicans or Palestinians I begin to identify with them too much.

Perhaps it's something in our genes (part of KMac's group selection theory?). I'm not really sure.

I just think all of us are leftist in a way (Jews).

David said...

>Hmmhmmmhmm, a bunch of Finns who like the "Finnish way to do things" sounds pretty suspicious to me. Isn't there some sort of EU regulation against that?<

That administrative region must be a pocket of anti-Semitism. The EU should arrange for the importation of millions of Somalis into it. That will show those farkakt Nazis.

David said...

>All white communities can be quiet and nice but dull as hell.<

Dullness comes from within. Firing off a few shots and cranking up the crunk may quell one's interior emptiness momentarily, but not everyone feels the same as you.

Harry Baldwin said...

Anonymous said...Also, few good restaurants.

Ah, the price we pay to forgo street crime, riots, squalor, poor schools, social inequality, affirmative-action make-work jobs, and incessant racial hectoring.

I'll eat tuna casserole, thank you.

t said...

I don't believe this. It is almost mid winter here in New Zealand north island and the lowest the temperature has been is 0oC this very morning.OK we have earthquakes but how can you be happy when the temperature is so low for most of the year.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Corruption is very low, as it is in all the Scandinavian countries. The women are pretty - that's hard to fault.

They don't talk much. Not a plus to my mind, but I understand YMMV.

There are two great unmentionables in these overrated Scandinavian countries, the first of which you noted here: Everyone is fifth cousin to everyone else, which creates enormous social capital that you can use for, oh, I dunno, socialism or something. Not socialism regarding other countries, of course. For that, ruthless free-marketing applies, or how else would we feed our own Finns? (See also, greater Scandinavia, Switzerland.)

The other unmentionable is that they suddenly got the idea that socialism might be a nice idea just after the poorest fifth of their population had just moved to North America. What are the odds, eh? It worked out great for us, because America didn't believe that only petty oppressors were intelligent. But it was a helluva jumpstart on all that fine fellow-feeling they pride themselves on.

How tough would socialism be here if our bottom quintile moved somewhere else over the next two decades?

Londoner said...

Finland is a bit of a headache for the Eurocidal maniacs. It's kind of Scandinavian, so it should fall as easily as next-door Sweden... except hang on, it's not actually Scandinavian at all - it is completely sui generis. Finns are nice, smart people but they don't care what the elites and their useful idiots in neighbouring countries are doing. The Finns don't make a song and dance about it, but they know just fine that they're doing well by doing things their own way and seem pretty impervious to the madness that the leftists would unleash on the place given the chance. "Thanks, but no thanks" is the clear message.

The cosmopolitan ones just can't get an "in" to Finland the way they can in almost every other European country. No history of expansionism, colonialism, slavery or aggression to batter them over the head with (quite the opposite in fact). Very few Jews there and no mistreatment of them at any point. An economy and society that have quietly flourished without any appreciable "diversity" that can be given all the credit for it - dammit! Won't those pesky Finns give them SOMETHING they can use to destroy them? No, they won't, hence this kind of passive-aggressive article, damning with faint praise etc. They hate the place but they know they can't say why.

Anonymous said...

must say hell-sinky doesn't sound like a very inviting place.

Get Off My Lawn! said...

Anyway, one interesting point that progressives have a hard time wrapping their heads around is that ethnic homogeneity, such as Finland enjoys relative to most other modern countries, is conducive to disinterested reform and progress.

Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece are all ethnically homogeneous compared to the UK, France or Germany. And yet,these countries do not seem to be filled with "disinterested reform and progress." To be fair, Spain and Italy are lovely countries to visit and no doubt equally delightful to live in for those who have some money, as countless northern Euro retirees can attest. Nevertheless "reformed" and "progressive" are not words that come to mind in association with, say, Madrid or Rome.

Perhaps it is less homogeneity than the kind of people being homogenous that matters. (I suspect Stockholm and Oslo are more reformed and progressive - whatever that means - than Lisbon and Athens, despite the large surplus of non-locals who now live in the Scandinavian cities.)

Kaz said...

Keep in mind this is a country where the government has to regulate alcohol content of local brews to keep the populous from drinking themselves to death. Although a lot of people just circumvent it by importing. This kind of thing is common in the Scandinavian nations, might have something to do with the weather I suppose.

anony-mouse said...

Whenever I mention that people here should move to the low unemployment Finland-y areas of the US (cold and white) nobody ever does.

Like so many things, people like it-from afar.

Meanwhile they sit in SoCal and complain

Wandrin said...

"Perhaps it is less homogeneity than the kind of people being homogenous that matters"

I think homogeniety is beneficial in itself, take Botswana as an example -

http://www.thecasualtruth.com/node/213

- but the benefit is proportional to the frequency of certain traits among the human capital in question e.g. co-operativeness and IQ.

Ethno-states ftw.

Anonymous said...

Finland seems like a nice place, but you can't judge a city just by its demographics; right now people are rioting in Vancouver.

Anonymous said...

The Scandinavian lifestyle appeals to most all, but only the Scandinavians have been able to pull them off.

I recall reading an interview with some South American politician, maybe the Mayor of Bogata or something. He was talking about well run cities and he said that he liked Northern European ones. I think he singled out Copenhagen and Amsterdam and such.

I was kind of impressed with the guys honesty and good sense. He must not have heard how undiverse, and hence evil they are.

Anonymous said...

How can this be? Isn't diversity supposed to be such a "strength"?

Has to be said...

Speaking of urban riots in non-diverse cities, have you seen the pictures of the one in Vancouver?

Us--the white folks who are not Finns--still got what it takes.

Ex Californiano said...

anony-mouse said...

Whenever I mention that people here should move to the low unemployment Finland-y areas of the US (cold and white) nobody ever does.


Actually, middle-class whites have been leaving California in droves for many years starting with the Pacific Northwest (WA, OR), spreading to the Southwest (AZ, NV, CO) and more recently the Mountain States (UT, ID) and beyond (TX, SE and even back to Midwest roots).

Businesses have consistently been moving out of CA for awhile as well.

Something like 1% of Californians pay over 50% of income tax now. Also, there are more net tax eaters than payers so taxes are unlikely to ever catch up to expenditures via the democratic process.

Fred said...

Steve,

You may not be familiar with the editor of Monocle, Tyler Brûlé, so let me fill in a few blanks for you. He's no diversity champion. His favorite city to visit is Tokyo, and he has a summer house in Sweden. He's also gay, and has written about the disapproving attitude he and his boyfriend got when he lived in Switzerland (which weighs against Zurich on his list).

Other than being gay, and liking places that are gay-friendly, Brûlé isn't much of a progressive. He's more traditional/conservative.

SouthernAnonyia said...

"All white communities can be quiet and nice but dull as hell. "

You're obviously unfamiliar with the southern U.S....

Anonymous said...

"I would be happiest in a world that's 80% white, 5% Asian, 5% enlightened Arab..."

Now if we could only find some enlightened Arabs...

Claverhouse said...

An Anonymous said:

All white communities can be quiet and nice but dull as hell.


I've noted on this phenomenom elsewhere, yet none the less at the end, each other group ( ethnic, religious, whatever ) is just as dull as well, and I should sooner be dull with my own kind --- however little I think of them --- than have others' tedious exciting ways forced upon my living.

Anonymous said...

DanJ sez: "I'd nominate some city on the northern shores of the Mediterranean instead. Sorry."

Agreed.

If they took quality of life seriously, the winner every year would be one of Barcelona, Nice, Rome, or Naples. Maybe throw in Tokyo or Athens once in a while for variety.

The mission of a magazine is to grab your interest with something new every month. Picking some frozen quiet backwater -- however pleasant -- as the top quality of life city is classic man-bites-dog and manufactured pseudo news.

Howard Hughes said...

"The other unmentionable is that they suddenly got the idea that socialism might be a nice idea just after the poorest fifth of their population had just moved to North America. What are the odds, eh? It worked out great for us, because America didn't believe that only petty oppressors were intelligent. But it was a helluva jumpstart on all that fine fellow-feeling they pride themselves on."
The poorest never went to America. Couldn't afford it. Also, the immigrant population was probably more intelligent and hardworking than their social peers back home.

By the way, what's up with this "white communities = boring" shit? Yeah, if it's some suburban enclave of ex-yuppies, sure (those places are great to raise family, though), but white people has shown, from Athens to Paris, that they can create a cool city life.

I'm more and more starting to think that the Finns are a bit smarter than the Swedes and Danes. Maybe those Asian genes have paid off? Of course, it could just be that they work harder or have a strong culture.

Socialism in Scandinavia - it wasn't really pure 'socialism', but whatever - will soon be simply a memory. Mass immigration, unloyal elites, weaking of community bonds, etc. will turn the countries into Latin America Lite: big income inequalities, an more or less ethnic class system, corruption, crime & chaos. Thanks a lot, Establishment...

Goo goos in paradise said...

Finland usually hits the Bottom 5 for Gini coefficients of developed nations too. I wonder how all the status-income disequilibrated journalists writing up the Income Inequality Apocalypse really feel about Japan, Utah, or North Korea. Perhaps they furtively admire those societies in which they wouldn't be so financially irrelevant...

Disunited we Fall said...

Get Off My Lawn said...

Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece are all ethnically homogeneous compared to the UK, France or Germany


Not so much, foreign-born percentage of total population:

6.5 Italy
12.3 Spain
4.2 Portugal
8.3 Greece
9.1 UK
5.8 France
8.8 Germany

Granted, countries like France and the UK probably have larger native-born foreign ethnics, but to a first approximation these countries down neatly break into the two divisions you think.

ATBOTL said...

"Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece are all ethnically homogeneous compared to the UK, France or Germany"

Wrong. It's 2011, not 1991. There has been massive third world immigration to Southern Europe since your perceptions were formed. For example, you can't go anywhere in Italy now without seeing hordes of black Africans loitering in the street like it was Detroit.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I'd be interested in Steve's take on why the
"best cities" polls are all so insane. All the points are awarded on things like number of experimental theaters and proximity to parks that mean absolutely zero to most people. Some measure of "wages vs. cost of living" should be about 75 percent of all those things because that's the one thing people care most about -- being able to afford a nice home in an attractive neighborhood filled with functional people. Everything else is an afterthought but they always choose places like Zurich where a dumpy apartment will cost $5 million.