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EU's labour dark ages
by Thanos Kalamidas
2015-06-06 11:59:32
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For nearly a decade, Greece has become the experimental ground for all kind of economic and geopolitical tests. It was the first time in centuries when a western country, member of all the major western clubs, was in so deep crisis and immediately eleven millions mainly consumers, became the guinea pigs for some of the most nightmarish experiments.

Overnight thousands of people lost their jobs, their houses, their dignity. Families were forced to sleep in the streets and mothers left their kids in orphanages unable to feed them. Ten years after people feel happy if they have a job and they are ready to do anything - doesn’t matter for how many hours a day, doesn’t matter how many days a week - for a minimum wage. University bachelors, masters and PhDs mean nothing under the circumstances. A fast food chain is looking for a new employee to serve and two thousands of applications registered in three hours. The lowest degree was a master degree. All of them, despite investing time and money into studies, were ready to serve fries ten to twelve hours a day - six days a week, for 300 euros a month.

In 2015, Greece lives a humanitarian disaster but furthermore Greece lives a social catastrophe that I am afraid it will take decades to fix, even if tomorrow morning every single disagreement with the creditors will be shorted out and the austerity measures stop. The gap between rich and poor has become huge and unbridgeable, at least for the next decade. Greece lives literally the dark ages of the labour force and it will take a renaissance to recover.

But if Greece was the guinea pig of this new era there is another country that is going to be the blue print for the expansion of the labour dark ages in all the European continent and gradually in all the world. And this country is Finland.

Finland is dealing with a huge economic problem and despite everything said her problems are definitely not the same with the Greek problems and even though there is a connection with her financial structures is not like the Irish. The fundamental of the Finnish financial problems lay - apart from mismanagement from incapable politicians – in the Finnish modern history. This is where it might remind the Greek problem.

We often forget that Finland was an isolated country for nearly a century. A country in the crossroads between the west and USSR and for more than half a century Finland was USSSR’s loyal satellite. This isolation ended long after the fall of the Berlin Wall and this is just three decades ago. Therefor Finland is new to the real world and this is something we should always keep in consideration. Even the financial disaster of the early 1990s which nearly brought the country to bankruptcy is a result of this past and the fact that Finland moved from an agriculture economy to fast growing industrial economy (depended on certain private investments) within two decades.

soini01_400Between the 1990 and 2010 Finland enjoyed a constant growth mainly thanks to myths build on transparency and the Scandinavian social model and the rise of new technologies where Finnish privateers had invest heavily. The first mistake was to depend the country’s economy on those privateers expecting everything else to work in automatic pilot for the eternity. The second mistake came from incompetent politicians who made lethal economic mistakes investing once more in the stock market and banking balloons leaving the main Finnish industry, the agriculture, to fade fast. Nations that never learn from their mistakes they are doomed to repeat them.

In 2012 the beginning of the end of the Nokia also marked the explosion of that balloon and while the Finish governments managed to keep the whole problem under the carpet the reality came and hit them two years later. The final and perhaps the worst mistake the Finnish governments did between 2012 and 2014 was to start borrowing money from the private sector (especially Swedish and Danish banks) through state institutions and ministries in a way so they wouldn’t show in the annual budget and they wouldn’t attract any attention from Brussels and the rating agencies. For Helsinki the rating 3A and the title of the good pupil were more important than future implications. That’s the second thing that reminds a lot the Greek crisis and another example of the fact that Finns didn’t learn from their mistakes but didn’t learn from the others mistakes either.

2015 a new, extreme right to fascist government takes over Finland in an election result many had predicted. A new country thirsty for national and historic identity, with a heightening paranoia after fifty years under the USSR threat; a nationalistic working class and a new lumpen middle class, mainly formed mainly with public servants and neo-yuppies it was an easy victims for the populist nationalistic rhetoric of a fascist and Nazi political party.

And while in the surface everything is for the father land and the holly Finland which will rule the world one day, in the reality Finland becomes the first blue print of a raw inhuman capitalism in the service for the very few and looking at the people as numbers that help to increase the profits of those few.

The last few days, unbelievable things have been heard from Finland. Things nobody would ever imagine from a country even in the edges of the Scandinavia. Cuts in pensions and salaries, cuts in the health system and educations, cuts in benefits and help, cuts in culture and art, cuts in labour rights. The representative of the employers announced that overtime and extra salaries for the weekends are anachronistic for our times and we should all work to increase growth, obviously he meant the growth of the industrialists and the bankers but he missed to go in detail. The state is thinking to increase the participation of the employees in the national insurance fee which is paid partly form the employer and partly from the employee. Final the right to fire an employee or as many employees the employer wants even though was under the control of strict laws now they want it free.

The unions have somehow started to react but now it’s too late, the government holds the majority and the True Finns are part of this government with the right to legislate and a majority to enforce. Finally and thanks to a highly questionable “businesswoman” who has questionably become the transportation and information minister, Mrs Anne Berner, with full control in the media; and as most of us found out the last few days especially after Mr Soini’s (the True Finn Foreign minister of Finland) visit to Sweden, information nowadays is under full control in Finland.

Let’s hope that what democratic has remained in this country will react otherwise this will turn into a virus that will infect all Europe and gradually the rest of the world.

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