September 30, 2013

Finnish-oriented content: the decline of Nokia

Unemployment Rates
Three big economic success stories of the era up through 2007 were Spain, Ireland, and Finland. All three use the Euro as currency. 

The Finnish economy was driven more by a single company (Nokia) than perhaps any other advanced economy in the world. Not too surprisingly, Nokia's dominance of one of the world's most competitive industries -- cellphones -- didn't last. Competitors sprung up at the low end, while Apple's introduction of the iPhone in June 2007 increasingly absorbed huge dollops of profit out of the high end.

Finland's economy recovered only moderately from the 2008 global crash, and is in trouble again today.
With Nokia's rise during 1990s, Finland rapidly recovered from deep recession and become one of the foremost knowledge economies in the world, said a report published by ETLA in March. 
During Nokia's prime years 1998-2007, the company contributed a quarter of the growth of the Finnish economy. It created nearly a fifth of Finland's exports and paid as much as 23% of all Finnish corporation tax revenue. 
However, its descent since 2008 has devastated Finland's economy. Nearly one-third of the over 8% drop in the Finnish GDP in 2009 was attributable to Nokia, and now the company's share of contribution in Finland's GDP has fallen to virtually zero, said the report.

It's kind of like if your national economy were built around Blackberry. 

All three countries were hammered hard in 2008 with unemployment hitting 8.7% in Finland by January 2010, versus 13.1% in Ireland and 19.2% in Spain. ( (All figures from a graph offered by Google from Eurostat data. Warning: unemployment can be defined differently in different countries.)

As of May 2013, unemployment in Finland was 8.4% and rising; in Ireland 13.6%; in Spain 26.9%. Each country's situation is unique and complex, but it's worth considering degree of enthusiasm for immigration during the 2000s bubble. 

Back then, Spain was celebrated for its rapid influx of immigrants, as, to perhaps a lesser extent, was Ireland. Finland, although it has a gigantic border with a much poorer country, tended to lag the rest of Western Europe in immigration. It's cold, dark in winter, far away, speaks an unusual language, has a militarized border, and enforces work permit laws efficiently.

This may have something to do with how much more stable Finland's unemployment rate has been despite the decline of Nokia.

48 comments:

Geoff Matthews said...

When you made your comment about having an economy built around Black Berry, it reminded me of Nortel, and how, at its peak, it made up more than a third of the value of the Toronto Stock Exchange.
Now, it is a shadow, being processed through the hell that is bankruptcy. I certainly hope that Nokia enjoys a better fate than that. I certainly believe that the Finns have the talent to survive Nokia's transfer from Finland to elsewhere.

Anonymous said...

The title on the graph is missing ("unemployment rate") I presume.

Matthew said...

Finland is a small country (pop: 5.4 million) that was effectively trying to compete for dominance, or at least be a player, in a major market that was growing rapidly - cell phones & smart phones. To put it bluntly: Finnish dominance of the multi-gazillion dollar cell phone industry wasn't gunna happen, and there is nothing the Finns could've done to maintain their market share. Nada.

Given its climate, location, & size, plus the status of the Finnish language, there is no way it was ever going to grow enough talent on its own or attract enough talent from abroad to keep ahead of corporations based in much larger countries, like Korea or the United States.

Living in Utah, what Nokia's decline reminds me of is the temporary dominance held by Novell & WordPerfect in the late 80s/early 90s over networking and word processing software, respectively. For a while, those two Utah-based companies owned their markets. But they were competing in a fierce, fast-growing business against a single competitor - Microsoft - which, besides being much richer and having a monopoly over OS software, was based out of a large, coastal city better positioned to attract talent than the small, landlocked, ~90% Mormon towns of Provo & Orem, Utah.

Finland is a beautiful country with a beautiful culture. If it had sacrificed itself on the altar of open borders it would have gained nothing while destroying its culture. Economically it has two main paths: native companies can compete globally in smaller, niche markets, and it can also serve as a highly valued back office location for large multinationals based elsewhere.

Most Global 500 companies wouldn't want to be based in Finland, but they'd be remiss to pass up the opportunity to tap the talent in a place like Finland. They can have that, and keep their beautiful country and culture, too.

Anonymous said...

I always found it interesting that Finland (Nokia) and Sweden (Ericsson) dominated the cell phone market back in the 1990s. For two of the major global firms to come from that region was impressive.

Anonymous said...

Finland wasn't as badly affected by the housing bubble which meant the comparatively low Euro inflation rate wasn't nearly as harmful to them.

Anonymous said...

pain in spain, ire in ireland, and finnishing last.

Anonymous said...

>and now the company's share of contribution in Finland's GDP has fallen to virtually zero

They must have meant contribution to GDP growth. Otherwise they would have to import almost everything also then sell at a great loss.

Sell it to MSFT that will help with the growth and employment, somewhere in SE Asia. Spite that friggin face, had it comin.

jody said...

sweden better pray IKEA never goes down for the count.

i kid, i kid.

on a more serious note, the same thing happens to norway when the oil runs out. course, they got a lot longer to go before that happens than finland had with nokia.

Anonymous said...

While not having a huge reserve of foreign laborers certainly helps the Finnish economy, the main reason that Finland is not in a worse shape is that it learned its lessons from the deep recession of the early 1990s.

In the 1980s strict controls on lending by Finnish banks were loosened, and what of course followed was a huge lending bubble. The entire banking sector melted down in the early 1990s, and was very expensively bailed out by the government. Saving the politically well-connected banks was a priority, while debtors, especially small businesses, suffered heavily.

In the current recession, not a single Finnish bank has failed, and no bubbles have burst in any sector. Nokia's troubles have certainly hit the economy, but the main reason why Finland is in a recession is the continuing failure of the eurozone. A traditional remedy for recessions has been to be devaluate one's currency to boost exports, but euro countries of course no longer have than option.

UKK said...

Thanks Steve! Sweden soaks up most of the so-called refugee migration to the Nordic countries (lots of bridgeheads in place). The boom-economy of the 2000s did create a minor bubble in housing that will deflate now and Finnish has not been a majority language at many building sites in the south of Finland. Luckily for us most of the builders have been EU-nationals from Estonia, and even if these fellows and their families can enjoy the fruits of the Finnish welfare-state in times of recession it does not constitute a immigrant problem on par with the ones in Spain, Ireland, Sweden etc.

Of course our MSM and politicans were drumming the big "immigration is good for the economy and we must have them to uphold welfare (and enrich culture, be modern ad nauseam)" during Nokia's golden years.

jaakkeli said...

It feels silly to read foreign commentary on Nokia. For starters, foreigners think of Nokia as a cell phone company but to me Nokia is a rubber boots manufacturer that also happens to make cell phones. Before the cell phone boom of the 1990s, Nokia was a giant all-purpose industrial conglomerate making everything imaginable: back in the 1980s, I wore Nokia boots, had a Nokia TV and watched the Finnish military parade wearing Nokia stuff. You could get a Nokia thing for half the stuff you would buy for your everyday life.

I don't think America has had similar corporations for a very long time. They are a feature of fairly closed market economies who also happen to be somewhat poorer than the rest like Finland and Korea for the later half of the previous century. Nokia's entire game plan was to pick up something they already made in Germany or America and make a sturdy, reliable but basic copy of it for the fairly closed Finnish market.

Then *boom* the Soviet Union collapses, Finlandization is over and Finland is finally free to fully join Western free trade. It was a miraculous coincidence that at the same time there just happened to be intense global demand for just the kind of a product that Nokia happened to have - a basic cell phone that kept developing in a pretty linear direction of reseach (becoming lighter, smaller etc but not radically different). It's also no surprise that Nokia's cell phone business fell when cell phones reached the end of the linear development and started becoming something different - Nokia was never an innovator and never even a cell phone company, that success was entirely accidental and their luck was bound to run out.

As for all the open borders and globalization stuff, the iSteve-o-sphere has a vastly exaggerated idea of how good it is here. It's just that Finland was a very closed country up to the 1980s-1990s not just because of geography but because of Soviet pressure and relative poverty compared to the rest of Western Europe. It has all changed rapidly and our leaders are just as much into population replacement as anyone else's. They are all embarrased to death that Finland doesn't yet have as many exotic immigrants as other countries since they see the lack of brown people as a sign of Finland's poor, backwards past.

Anonymous said...

It's rather far-fetched to claim the differences between Finland and Spain and Ireland are due to different rates of immigration. Consider what the 3 countries are like without immigrants. Finland is believed to be pretty uncorrupt and pays its way. Ireland and Spain with Portugal and Greece make up the PIGS group of EU members that are entirely parasitic on the contributing members of the EU (including Finland). Both enjoyed building bubbles now giving some rather entertaining corruption trials.
There is some particularly pointless immigration into Spain. The EU provides subsidies to set up fruit and vegetable farms in desert parts of Spain. The private capital is mostly not Spanish. There are no Spanish takers for the work so the entire labour force is imported from North Africa. Without the EU subsidies, the farms would have been established in North Africa where the workers were.

Anonymous said...

Northern Ireland which is British is parasitic whereas the other one is still a net contributor to the EU.

Anonymous said...

"As for all the open borders and globalization stuff, the iSteve-o-sphere has a vastly exaggerated idea of how good it is here. It's just that Finland was a very closed country up to the 1980s-1990s not just because of geography but because of Soviet pressure and relative poverty compared to the rest of Western Europe. It has all changed rapidly and our leaders are just as much into population replacement as anyone else's. They are all embarrased to death that Finland doesn't yet have as many exotic immigrants as other countries since they see the lack of brown people as a sign of Finland's poor, backwards past."

I'll second that.

Finnish politicans have become somewhat less supportive of multiculturalism and mass immigration in recent years, at least according to my assessment. That's most likely due to the rise of the True Finns party. The immigration-restrictionist party got 1,5 % of the votes in the 2003 parliamentary elections, 4 % in 2007, and 19 % in 2011.

Immigration is a hot topic in the public debate in Finland. The public in general is pretty skeptical about mass immigration and multiculturalism. People are pretty wary of voicing opposition to mass immgration and multiculturalism, lest they be accused of racism. That's especially true when it comes to politicians (outside of the True Finns party). The mass media is VERY pro-multiculturalism and pro-immigration.

Hunsdon said...

jaakkeli: Thank you for that information. I didn't know any of that.

Anonymous said...

I've spent a lot of time in Finland. Unlike Swedes, Finns, who have a history of being oppressed by Russia and Sweden, can't be convinced that they owe the world something as easily as other never-communist Europeans. I've also read on Roissy that Finnish men have among the highest testosterone levels in Europe. Could this be why Finland took in a handful of Yugoslavs in the 1990s, while weepy Sweden took two hundred thousand (ball park)? Finland is the 'Alpha' of Europe, doesn't blink and no one gets in their face about it. Geography helps Finland stay Finnish, but at the end of the day they simply aren't as prone to the bleeding-heart mentality as the rest of us. God bless Finland.

BB753 said...

Anon, makes you wonder why there are no takers for the jobs. Same reason as in the USA (low wages), and furthermore Spanish workers are subsidised by the state not to work (through unemployment benefits they collect after just six months of agricultural work per year, so workers only work half a year). You could say that foreign capital is also subsidised in effect through porous borders,a government policy which allows corporations to fix wages at will.

As for Nokia, what´s the story here? Everbody takes for granted that Microsoft took charge of the phone division to run it to the ground. Have they reached a gentleman´s agreement with Apple to the effect that they respect Apple´s share of the mobile phone market while Apple in tuns respects Microsoft´s share of computer market? Steve´s beloved cartels a work?
Microsot is determined and incompetent enough to bury Nokia.

Dahinda said...

"It's kind of like if your national economy were built around Blackberry." The reason one company can dominate an entire country's economy is because Finland has approx. the same population as Cook County, Illinois.

Anonymous said...

Note the Finns (and Hungarians and Turks) on this global racial map by Meyers (1885-90): http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/2/25/Meyers_b11_s0476a.jpg

When did the consensus view of Finns as a "white" people solidify in the United States? I assume that the inflection point lies some time between the Johnson-Reed Act and World War II.

On Finns in Minnesota:

The Finns were known as "clannish." They had a strange, difficult language; their beloved sauna, was seen as an outlandish, barbaric custom. Finns had a reputation not just as troublemakers, but as hard drinkers and knife fighters. An American newspaper writer once questioned whether Finns possessed souls. The word "Finlander" became a derisive term of both ethnic and racial prejudice.

"We lived in what was then called Finntown. There were other parts of town where Norwegians and Swedes lived. I remember my name was Sandstrom and this other fellow's name was Carlson, and we were white, blond as blond could be, and the Swedes, because they knew our parents, grandparents were from Finland, they'd go and put their fingers by their eyes and make slanty eyes and say "Hey, China Swede, hey China Swedes.""

The Encyclopedia of Strikes in American History (2009, Eds. Brenner, Day, & Ness, p. 464):

In addition to blacklists, the mining companies attempted to have several radical Finns deported as nonwhites, supposedly prohibited from staying in the United States by the Chinese Exclusion Act. The racial character of Finns tended to cause no small amount of debate among native-born Americans...

http://i.imgur.com/ZhcSXqC.png

Anonymous said...

Some people think that the failure of Nokia has more to do with Elop and a Microsoft conspiracy.

Anonymous said...

Probably.

But you've also got to bear in mind that Spain and Ireland had runaway property booms during the mass immigration period, (after all they've go to live somewhere).
The property booms proved to the extra 'knock' which sent those two countries reeling - and which will also probably ensure that they will never get back on their feet. All that debt is a mill-stone around the neck.

Ed said...

Matthew makes several good points. One thing that drives me up the wall is commentary that treats foreign countries as interchangeable, without taking into account population. Finland's population is 5.4 million, so of course on that scale the economy may well be dominated by one big company. Someone brought up a Toronto-based company, well, Finland's population is comparable to that of metropolitan Toronto.

Comparisons between Finland and Ireland make some sense because they are both small countries, that are normally rural backwaters, that were both caught up in the imperial systems of larger neighbors (Russian and England, respectively). Spain operates on a completely different scale, though maybe you can compare Finland, Ireland, and one of the more rural Spanish regions. Even comparisons to Portugal are problematic, because Portugal may be just at the right size to have something of a national economy, not dominated by one company.

American pundits should adopt a rule against drawing inferences from the experience of countries with a smaller population than Los Angeles County.

Hieronymous Boss said...

Anonymous up above makes a good point about the problem with comparing Finland, on the one hand, with Ireland and Spain on the other. Also, unless I'm mistaken Finland isn't *that* poor. According to the IMF its nominal per capita GDP was $46k in 2012, fifteenth in the world and just a little less than the U.S. at $49k.

So its per captia income, taken alone, would seem to make Finland an attractive destination for immigrants. The other factors Steve mentioned, plus sensible public policy, get the credit for keeping immigration low.

Anonymous said...

Finland's politicians have been eager to get in on the immigration bandwagon for some time, with real results. 20 years ago, there were few foreigners in Finland, and now Helsinki has a large enough Somali population to cause trouble. Most cities in Finland now have refugees and immigrants, whether the native population agrees or not. Nothing says progress, law and order like roving gangs of third-world cast-offs.

Finland's economy is more than Nokia. Cruise ships, boats pharmaceuticals, pulp and paper, pulp and paper machinery, trucks, and buses are all produced in Finland, which isn't bad for a nation of 5 million. Still, immigration is something that few Finns want, or are prepared for.

pat said...

On the BBC's reality show 'Top Gear' they periodically make trips abroad. They have taken trips to Africa and the US for example but the most disturbing one was their recent trip to Spain.

They got to race their Lambos and Astons on the public streets because all the people were gone. They shot in several Spanish resorts where there are lots of new shiny buildings but no people. All Spain looked like the final reels of "On the Beach".

Albertosaurus

Alexander Irwin said...

In the end it was like Charles XII invading Russia--no matter how good the plan is, the plan is just too big for the resources available.

Geoff Matthews said...

Matthew,

That was my second thought. In spite of WordPerfect and Novell's demise, the talent that was released from these companies encouraged the growth of other software companies. The Wasatch front (Utah's population hub) has a decent number of tech companies, but none of whom have approached these two company's dominance of their market.
And you may be right, that in order to dominate a large market, you need to be in a major population center.

I think of SAS, and how it doesn't dominate business intelligence like it used to dominate statistical software.

Anonymous said...

http://www.dnainfo.com/chicago/20131001/edgewater/senn-chicago-math-science-academy-among-best-high-schools-city

Anonymous said...

You might be onto something here, but I think the present unemployment rates and past immigration mainly relate via a common cause: debt bubbles. All kinds of malinvestment follow...

Also, as Finland had learnt its lesson in the 90's depression, it was in a better position to do some stimulus post-2008. But Finland is a small, export-driven economy with a rigid currency, and we now have a new lesson. (Should you find your small country in a similar situation, my advice is: DNR!) By some accounts our labour costs are frozen about 20% above those of the Germans. 2013 has seen lay-offs in the 10 000s.

I don't know if politicians and economists have yet forgiven us for not living up to their stimulus models, but they seem to have given us a new chance. You guessed it: the theory of the blessings of an increased labor supply! The usual rules of autistic economics apply. The current statistics just aren't there, and low-skilled agricultural workers at 63° N are suddenly a net win for the welfare state.

Interestingly, apart from industry, the drummers in the supply galley have been mostly Social Democrats. Fortunately we have more than 2 parties to vote for.

peterike said...

Ireland continues to accept tons of immigrants. In fact, it has been ramping up, not down. The person in charge of this policy in Ireland is Jewish.

Shocking news.

Anonymous said...

When did the consensus view of Finns as a "white" people solidify in the United States? I assume that the inflection point lies some time between the Johnson-Reed Act and World War II.

No one in the US ever considered Finns to be non-white any more than the Chicago South Side Irish ever considered the South Side Polish to be non-white.

Pathetic that this even has to be pointed out
(...)
In stark contrast [to the black-white boundary], there was essentially no SEE-white boundary [SEE=Southern and Eastern Europeans]. Contrary to the arguments of many whiteness studies historians and the social scientists who have drawn on their work, we contend that wherever white was a meaningful category, SEEs were almost always included within it, even if they were simultaneously positioned below NWEs [=Northern and Western Europeans]. Some individuals and an occasional institution questioned—or appeared to question—the whiteness of SEEs and other Europeans, blurring the boundary in limited contexts. But the categorization of SEEs as nonwhite was neither widely recognized nor institutionalized. In fact, quite the opposite. Federal agencies including the census, the military, the immigration service, the Civilian Conservation Corps, and others all counted by race and placed SEEs firmly within the white category. No court ever denied Europeans the right to naturalize as free white persons at least in part because race scientists and the “common man” placed SEEs within the boundaries of whiteness. Furthermore, when SEEs saw Whites Only signs in movie theaters, restaurants, swimming pools, playgrounds, buses and streetcars, and at places of employment, they could—with near certainty—be confident that those signs were not meant to exclude them. Similarly, when housing covenants restricted the sale of homes to whites, when unions declared that their membership was restricted to white workers, when schools declared that their doors were open to white children only, and where marriage laws prohibited miscegenation, SEEs quickly learned that the category “white” included them, too.
(...)

peterike said...

Satellite pics of Spanish ghost cities:

http://www.nacionrotonda.com/

E. Rekshun said...

A lady friend of mine got laid off from a Nokia plant in Florida in 2007 when the plant closed down. She subsequently got hired by a US-based government defense contractor and has since had plenty of overtime.

E. Rekshun said...

@Matthew: For a while, those two Utah-based companies [Novell and WordPerfect] owned their markets.

Yep. My current employer (900 employees) still uses Novell and, as of 2005, my last employer (3000 employees) still used Word Perfect.

Gateway was a successful and growing PC maker in the late '90s early '00s headquartered out of Sioux City, IA. They marketed their products with the spotted boxes patterned like cows. Gateway eventually found the need to leave the breadbasket, and relocated to Silicon Valley and were taken over by Acer. Everyday, I still use my Gateway laptop purchased in '07 for $500.

tenneby said...

There is an interesting website whose author covers the cell phone industry and who does a very thorough job of explaining the demise of Nokia. I can't recommend reading through his coverage enough; he can actually make reading about business interesting and this Nokia story provides him with fantastic material. The site is called communities-dominate.blogs.com. If you go to the site search for the terms 'nokia' and 'elop'. There's a lot of content and I would recommend starting with this link to give yourself a good background on things. There have been some recent revelations that shed some light onto the whys of the behavior of Nokia's board and management but before you dig into those you should familiarize yourself with what actually happened. Likely, little of what you think happened happened or even happened for the reasons you think.

Anonymous said...

tenneby said...
There is an interesting website whose author covers the cell phone industry and who does a very thorough job of explaining the demise of Nokia.

From the first link:

"outgoing CEO Stephen Elop, who came from Microsoft, had a contract from 2010, which would pay him a peculiar bonus of 25 million dollars, if this deal we now heard of three weeks ago - Nokia selling its handset unit to Microsoft - were to occur"

hahaha, oh wow

And reminded of a classic on Nortel right here on isteve

http://isteve.blogspot.com/2009/07/evil-steves-guide-to-finding-softest-ap.html?showComment=1247548572436#c7080034853895698822

stari_momak said...

I still use my Nokia shorty, a not too distant cousin of what Foreign Policy.com called 'the AK-47 of cell phones". (Alas, article behind a paywall now). The 'candy bar' form fits nicely in my hand and in my pocket.

Sure, the shorty doesn't do anything but text (SMS) and make calls (and, via text, email). But that is all I want it to do.

Or actually, not quite. I also use its calendar, countdown timer, stopwatch (I carry the thing in my hand when I run), and voice memo functions. The only thing I can really say I would like is more memory for the voice memos. I've dropped the thing, indeed virtually thrown the thing, several times, and it works like a charm.

I got the phone on eBay for $14, to replace the free one I got in 2007 (signing up for a top up plan). I spend about $100 on mobile phone fees.

Anti-Democracy Activist said...

Now that Nokia is gone, looks like the economy up in that part of the world is... Finnished.

*BA*DUM*BUMP*Tssssssshhhh...

Chubby Ape said...

People have mentioned the now defunct Nortel several times. Their former R&D campus in Ottawa was in the news just the other day:
Mysterious listening devices found at future headquarters of defence department
Former Nortel campus was subject of decade-long industrial espionage

OTTAWA — Workers preparing the former Nortel complex as the new home for the Department of National Defence have discovered electronic eavesdropping devices, prompting new fears about the security of the facility.

It’s not clear whether the devices were recently planted or left over from an industrial espionage operation when Nortel occupied the complex.
...

Anonymous said...

When did the consensus view of Finns as a "white" people solidify in the United States? I assume that the inflection point lies some time between the Johnson-Reed Act and World War II.

There was a 1908 court case where a Finn's right to naturalization as a white person was contested. However, the judge ruled that "If the Finns were originally Mongols, modifying influences have continued until they are now among the whitest people in Europe." See here.

BB753 said...

tenneby, thanks for the link.

Looks like Mr."Flop" was an Apple mole from the start. It boggles the mind what CEO´s can get away with.

I´m a big Nokia fan actually. Three years ago I used a C-6 smartphone, and it worked fine. Never understood why they switched to Windows instead of Android. Although Android 2.1 wasn´t all that much better than Symbian S-60.
I still use a candy-bar Nokia every day for work, the excellent C-2.

Anonymous said...

What is interesting about the Finns is that they have the highest incidence of blond hair in Europe. Even more so than the stereotypically blond Swedes. If you look at map of the distribution of blond hair in Europe, Finland seems to be ground zero. It is probable that the gene mutation for blond hair originated somewhere in or around Finland.

Of other significance is the fact that Finns speak a non-Indo-European language, meaning they were never fully assimilated by the Indo-European invasions many millennia ago. Now, consider that according to Nazi philosophy, blond hair was considered a marker of a perfect "Aryan" (proto-Indo-European). Yet the non-Indo-European Finns are blonder than the Swedes and Germans. In all likelihood, Hitler had it backwards. The proto-Indo-Europeans (who originated from the steppes of Russia) were almost exclusively dark-haired, and blond hair among modern Europeans comes from the peoples who inhabited Northern Europe before the Indo-European invasions.

2Degrees said...

The jobs Spaniards just won't do. It seems ethnic Spanish university graduates are moving to Britain to clean toilets.


http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2441322/Spanish-graduate-25-THREE-degrees--job-cleaning-toilets-London-cafe.html

Anonymous said...

Finns are not Mongols. Finns are largely descended from the same stock as Swedes, but with annorth Asian influence from the ancestors of the Lapp reindeer herders. Why that isn't obvious is beyond me, since the two peoples have mixed and mingled in that same area for thousands of years.

FWG said...

Thanks for the Finnish content Steve! I knew I wouldn't be disappointed in my return to the blog.

Anonymous said...

"No one in the US ever considered Finns to be non-white any more than the Chicago South Side Irish ever considered the South Side Polish to be non-white."

You're speaking in uninformed generalities. If you read the evidence I cited, it's clear that there was serious contention and that Germanic Nordic immigrants from neighboring countries were, in many cases, the most emphatic about the racial otherness of Finns.

The lead-up to the 1908 appeal referenced by another anonymous?

District Attorney John C. Sweet denied citizenship to John Svan and fifteen other Finns in 1908, claiming that "being a Finn he is a Mongolian and not a 'white person.'

Richard M. Dorson, Bloodstoppers and Bearwalkers (Michigan Finnish folktales), 1952:

The coming of the Finn has rocked the northwoods country. He is today what the red man was two centuries ago, the exotic stranger from another world. In many ways the popular myths surrounding the Indian and the Finn run parallel. Both derive from a shadowy Mongolian stock–"just look at their raised cheekbones and slanting eyes." Both live intimately with the fields and woods. Both possess supernatural stamina, strength, and tenacity. Both drink feverishly and fight barbarously. Both practice shamanistic magic and ritual, drawn from a deep well of folk belief. Both are secretive, clannish, inscrutable, and steadfast in their own peculiar social code. Even the Finnish and Indian epics are supposedly kin, for did not Longfellow model "The Song of Hiawatha" on the form of the Kalevala?

"No one" is just wrong.

Modern genomic evidence, by the way, has established that the Finns are outliers in Europe in a way that no Mediterranean or Slavic population is, a combination of peculiar demography and non-West-Eurasian Siberian ancestry.

Anonymous said...

The Lapps are outliers in Europe, and their ancestors account for a portion of the Finnish genome. Otherwise, the Finns are pretty the Same as other Scandinavians.

Shimyl Ahmed said...




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