Intolerance is a wonderful weapon to exploit newcomers and strike a blow to organized labor

by , under Enrique

There’s little chance to stop Finland from becoming an ever-growing class society or that its suspicion of immigrants and visible minorities will lessen anytime soon. Our greater intolerance of other groups won’t only be fueled by our prejudice and loathing, but by Finland’s “other” that will be more than happy to oblige.

Some immigrants  and visible minorities will gladly accept the societal pecking order of things just like some minorities in other countries have.

The key, however, is not to become a Finnish Uncle Tom (Tuomo-setä) but to build on who you are. Learn your history, be proud of who you are. If you become too white, you’ll be trapped, possibly for generations, and become part of Finland’s underclass indefinitely.

Finland’s Romany minority, who have lived in this country for 500 years and number 10,000, are a stark reminder of what happens to a group that refuses to become white. A great part of their history is marred by outright social exclusion and discrimination of the worse kind.

Kuvankaappaus 2013-4-26 kello 13.13.45
Juhana Vartianen and Jarkko Kiander spoke of the need of bringing more immigrant labor to Finland.  Read full story here.

Our ignorance and lack of resolve to tackle intolerance will eventually cost our society dearly. They will be hard blows to Nordic values such as social equality, justified and encouraged by our collective and individual greed. We opportunistically believe that by allowing intolerance, and the exploitation of immigrants and visible minorities, will allow us to eat and have our Nordic social welfare cake too.

It’s all self-deception and a tricky sales job by those who are keen to streamline people’s rights by lowering salaries, cutting social services and trimming rights.

In a news story published by YLE about  Juhana Vartiainen, an economist who wants to shake Finland off its social welfare foundations, gave his usual recipe on how to use our workforce more effectively.

Apart from the usual make-work-more-attractive-option-than-unemployment benefits, raising the retirement age and shorter study periods at universities, he  spoke of the govenment’s plan to bring 200,000 immigrants to Finland by 2019 to plug our labor shortage.

The most interesting part of the story, however, were quotes by pension insurance group Ilmarinen CFO Jarkko Kiander concerning the role of these new immigrants.

Apart from admitting that menial work could be conveniently handed to immigrants and visible minorities, he estimated that some 100,000 immigrants could be employed in these low-paying jobs that white Finns don’t want to do.

When asked about immigrants getting paid lower salaries than white Finns, he responds: ”This is the one of the economic logics behind immigration, that immigrants are cheap labor and keep salaries in check.”

In one sentence Kiander sheds light on not only what he thinks about immigrants and their integration as equals in Finland, but his contempt for them as well as for Finland’s working class. His only aim is profit for Finnish industry. Immigrants offer a wonderful weapon for him to strike a hard blow to organized labor.

People like Kiander have learned well the lessons of intolerance and how it can be used effectively for profit. Too many countries in the world exploit cheap labor in order to fatten the wallets of their owners and to attain a competitive edge over other rival companies and countries.

One matter that he hasn’t foreseen, however, is that people have the ability to organize and fight back.

As Finland permits, like it does now, the social exclusion and exploitation of immigrants in some cases with the blessings of the unions,  we’ll end up shooting ourselves in the leg.

But this is what Ilmarinen’s CFO as well as many other large business leaders aim to do. Who cares about our social welfare society as long as they get their fat paychecks at the end of the month and juicy annual bonuses.

 

    • Farang

      Does anyone get the point to that HS article? It’s like it’s only purpose is to create negative attitudes against immigrants.

    • Mark

      I disagree. The statistic and the accompanying explanation are adequate in understanding why immigrants have a bigger share of welfare income compared to their population size. As nearly half of people claiming support are single, it is clear that this would skew the data for those that have families. For example, a sample of 100, where 50 adults are single and so claim only for one person = 50 people on support. However, 8 adult immigrants, 6 of whom have 3 children each would give a total number of 26 persons claiming support. That corresponds almost exactly to the statistics given by Heikki and Elina.

      However, so often we are not given the reason for the skew in the statistics and then I would question the integrity of the reporting, though not necessarily the researchers, as they don’t always have control over how their research is reported and what ‘story’ is put on it.

    • Farang

      So, you really don’t understand how common people read these news? And then you wonder why there are racist attitudes against immigrants…

      This is your problem. You want to get rid of racism and discriminating attitudes against immigrants but when someone offers you on a silver plate the reasons why these attitudes exist, you ignore them.

      Makes me wonder if you really want to get rid of racism at all? After all, without racism you wouldn’t have anything to debate here.

    • Mark

      So, you really don’t understand how common people read these news? And then you wonder why there are racist attitudes against immigrants…

      Finns are smart. Those that aren’t are mostly beyond discussion if they hold strong racist views and probably wouldn’t even bother to read a story like that. The important thing is that if it does come up, then it’s fairly clear how to deal with it, which is not always the case with statistics quoted out of context or with very little backround information.

      This is your problem. You want to get rid of racism and discriminating attitudes against immigrants but when someone offers you on a silver plate the reasons why these attitudes exist, you ignore them.

      Except this isn’t racism, Farang! And yes, there is a possibility to twist this story, but in this case, neither the journalist nor the researchers would be at fault.

      Makes me wonder if you really want to get rid of racism at all? After all, without racism you wouldn’t have anything to debate here.

      Keep wondering. I don’t rely on your meanderings to figure out my own motivations. And you are the one that brings debate, by commenting on the stories. My guess is there is always something to debate about immigration, though.

    • Farang

      Except this isn’t racism, Farang! And yes, there is a possibility to twist this story, but in this case, neither the journalist nor the researchers would be at fault.

      It’s all in the title. You would be surprised if you knew how many people nowadays read only the titles and then makes conclusions based only on them.

      And todays journalism is about reporters putting some shocking title, which is either a lie or twisted truth. Then the truth maybe comes clear in the article itself.

      If I could decide, the law should be changed in a way that reporters like that would be put away.

    • Mark

      Okay, I take your point about the title. For that I would blame the editor, rather than the journalist who wrote the story.

    • Farang

      Oh, I thought it’s the same person who writes the story and the title.

      But really there are lots of people who just read the headlines and then make the conclusions about those. I have already hear several people raging about “immigrants coming here and using all our welfare” after reading this headline.

      And these people are not racist by default, they well understood the issue after I explained what was the actual content.

      And other issue, the actual racists and anti-immigration will use these headlines as their weapon to turn more peoples attitudes against immigrants.

    • Mark

      Farang

      Oh, I thought it’s the same person who writes the story and the title.

      Typically not. Usually a chief editor or senior editor will decide the title, though sometimes the journalists will be allowed an input.

      I do take your point that the title is misleading. To be honest, I hadn’t read the title, but just the main story, which I saw little problem with. Clearly the editor was looking for a ‘story’ and that’s why it has the title it does, and I agree, that the title is a poor choice, though I know that it will attract attention. Nowadays, with online portals, editors have a very good idea about what kinds of stories attract hits (and advertising), and will usually try to bend story titles to play on these themes. They think they are just doing their job and making the paper profitable, while the idea of social responsibility is generally far down the list, as something to be invoked only in extreme cases.

      But headlines are not enough to win arguments. Someone that writes this and then posts in our forum for example will very quickly get found out. Thanks for pointing it out, Farang and being patient enough to make your point clear.

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