You don’t have to be an expert to understand that Europe and especially Finland are speeding towards a demographic and economic decline of untold proportions. The calamity we face will not come from outside our borders per se but will have the “Made in Finland” label on it.
There’s an interesting story on the Guardian about how cultural traits fueled the Fukushima nuclear catastrophe in Japan. The panel’s findings on the disaster could be eerily similar to a future report that studied the causes behind our own demographic and economic decline.
Kiyoshi Kurokawa, a professor emeritus at Tokyo University, states: “Its fundamental causes are to be found in the ingrained conventions of Japanese culture: our reflexive obedience; our reluctance to question authority; our devotion to ‘sticking with the programme’; our groupism; and our insularity.”
As the euro financial crisis deepens, which fuels our ever-growing skepticism and fear of the outside world, our response to the challenges facing our country and region has been ever-bigger doses of nationalism.
Our reaction to the euro and various political corruption scandals was the election of April 2011, which paved the way for an anti-EU, anti-immigration and anti-Islam party. How is it possible that a right-wing populist party like the Perussuomalaiset can attract 19.1% (39 seats) of the votes compared with 4.05% (5 seats) in 2007?
Part of the answer to that question must be in our insularity, scapegoating and ever-growing skepticism of the outside world.
Even if some used to call Finland the Japan of Europe in the 1980s, our country resembles today a nation that is inching towards permanent demographic and economic decline.
Foreign workers are moving to Japan these days to fill jobs and to compensate for the extremely low birth rate. Like in Finland, the ramifications of an ever-growing influx of immigrants into a society that has based its identity on ethnic purity are enormous to say the least.
Despite the difficulties we face, there’s still time to save Finland and Europe.
Europe’s future lies in its ability to deal with the challenges posed by its ever-growing cultural diversity and globalization.
That is why we need to learn from countries like Canada, the United States and Australia that have reaped synergies from their diversity more effectively than us.