Implementation of meritocratic ideals in Finland

I originally sent this as a private message to Roberto, and he asked me to make a thread about it. So here goes!

I’ve got to level with you on this - I’m facing severe difficulties with the translation project. Not because I’m not able of translating the base text, but because it’s quite strongly worded and many of the ideas are going to alienate masses of people in Finland if I translate them as they are, without fiddling around with base concepts.

Corruption is almost non-existant in Finland. The problems we’re really facing are far more about political indecisiveness and parties concentrating on their base voter blocks, with not one party ever daring to suggest anything that’d actually work in fears of losing votes. Our political culture is generally speaking a timid one, as is the national character… I’m not going to have a hand in rolling out anything that’ll allow people to say “nevermind them, they’re crazy” and BAM! Try to get rid of the stigma after that. Any subsequent work in Finland would have to get over that massive hurdle.

Another problem arises in the part regarding rights to vote. In our current society, many people are doing a little bit of this, a little bit of that, any work they can get their hands on to survive. Many forgo higher education in favor of starting work early, meaning they wouldn’t really have a true say in anything… And thus making this kind of a pipe-dream in the current scenario. Not to mention that many people are leaving their high-paying expert jobs in favor of downgrading and living a slower life in a job that involves less responsibility. Are these people going to retain their rights to vote? Because I doubt they’d follow the latest developments in their respective fields.

And really, all the text involving the shortcomings of democracy is going to be… Problematic in Finland. Vetting politicians and making sure only the right stuff gets in, sure, but I don’t think the message would work quite as it is.

On the other hand, I can imagine that the millionaire estate tax could gain ground. There’s always been something we tend to call “herraviha” in Finland - meaning, quite literally, hatred of lords. You couldn’t drive a Bugatti down a street over in Finland without drawing hefty criticism. Ostentatious spending is shameful, and the rich tend to keep their goings-on not quite as flamboyant as it is elsewhere.

So… Yeah. I think that in order for Meritocracy to take root in Finland there should first be a desire for it, through a non-political movement more concerned with the unsavory direction things have taken basically everywhere in the world. Something to give substance and hope into people’s lives. When this basic grassroots movement has been established and there is a sufficient amount of voters ready for change, then the political element could be brought in one workable issue at a time.

Finland has never been a country of open protest. Colour and standing out in a political sense is almost guaranteed to drive away the dominant lower-upper middle class. In countries with a history of open protest against the rulers or where the situation is absolutely dire and the tearing of society’s fabric is close, that is where a movement like Meritocracy could fare far better as it is. Rather than the ancient far right - far left dichotomy people tend to choose from in times of abysmal despair, our ideology could provide an idea that would resonate far more with the good in people. And deep down, most people don’t want to see violence and destruction in their societies.

I think it might be more effective locally if the basic ideology were first spread through university campuses and left-leaning social NGOs. They are full of good hearts and capable minds struggling to find a way to make a difference in a society where any kind of political unorthodoxy is easily viewed as extreme. And not in the way a wild-eyed hermit rants from atop the mountain, but rather in a far more personal and up-close manner where the undeniable benefits of this system of thought could be brought into fore. To give them hope that yes, together we can change things for the better.

Has anyone got any thoughts or suggestions regarding the matter?


I agree.

In addition the only thing by wich Meritocracy Party differentiates from the Finnish Left Alliance, Communist Party and Independence Party is the radical change of voting system. Actually the Independence Party is suggesting elections based on merit without political parties, too.

The suggestion is that at least 5000 persons should be searched from the 14 universities of Finland and other high level educational societies. This clearly is for young and ambitious people who will be highly educated. Or for those who have been educated but have no job matching their education. They migh be older already. I don’t know where to find them. Maybe there is some sort of unemployment clubs & institutions for them?

Facebook page for people to “like” meritocracy in Finland and a group for people who want to actively participate in Finland are good ideas, too.

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I think you make great points @Volmer and it’s insightful to read about how things are in Finland. It’s also great that you bring this up instead of blindly translating the FAQ, which as you said was written with a particular audience in mind (mainly the American/Canadian public et al) :).

My suggestion would be for you and @Klockars to find a starting point as you work on defining what the Meritocracy in Finland programme would look like. You guys already have some solid ideas on how to push forward, so I’d start with those after defining what the Finnish Meritocracy Party/meritocratic organisations/groups would fight for.

I.e., work backwards from a vision for Finland and the world.

What would the next action be?

Well… That would probably be forming a “core” set of activists who could meet up and discuss ways to further bring about spreading of the idea and cultivate it further, chiseling out the the rough edges and agree on a general framework for local activism. I’d prefer having maybe 5-10 people at first before continuing with working out the kinks much further.

Ideal would be if those people would have differing opinions on subjects and weren’t easily yielding to group pressure, because groupthink and the echo chamber effect would be a hindrance in the long run. The only way to improve and test an idea is to subject it to debate, and that would be difficult to do if everyone thought the exact same about every matter at hand. We’d have to study the articles and FAQ points, and use the points and counterpoints derived from those to build a strong and steady intellectual and rational base suited for local propagation and usage.

There is one very strong advantage to our idea, and that is actually thinking ahead. Politics are often very populistic, obsessed with minute-matter issues that everyone’s buzzing about in the here and now while absolutely neglecting to bring long-term solutions. Manifestos and pronouncements regarding vision or values are often either very hum-drum and grey or built on little else but sentiment and emotion. In comparison, Meritocracy brings forth both a strong appeal to the humanity in all of us as well as emphasizing the need for sound future plans - and not only on a national level, either. Our cause can easily be extrapolated to concern the future of humanity itself, in the right conditions. We also have very little in the way of political baggage or sacred cows that would hinder discourse and development.

I hope I’m making as much sense as I think I am, having woken up at 03:30 for a twelve-hour workday :slight_smile: Anyway, in regards of ‘where to go now’, I need to have a couple of discussions with some people I know. If I manage to convince them, we’ll be well on our way… No promises or timetables though!

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That sounds good to me :slight_smile:

I translated the faqs and made some modifications to make them more Finland-friendly. They still are very USA-UK -oriented but at least the first “raw” versions are out now and further modification can be done to make them palatable here in FInland.
I see that these translations are to people living in the UK or USA because of their content. So they are not so important because of Finns living there surely have good English language skills. But it was a good exercice for improving my understanding of the basic points of the MP.
No contact with Volmer this far, maybe he’ll come back later… It can be quite heavy to start a revolution alone so no wonder Volmer is also having a break :smile:

EDIT: … Instead of starting a party right away I will start commenting and writing to Uusisuomi ( ) with sharp meritocratic edge and at some point in the future I will print out flyers to be handed out & put on the boards of schools, cafeterias etc.

Volmer wrote that corruption is almost zero here. It’s not so much in the media because it is so mild compared to the “big world” but it is quite obvious that the voting system with parties is the main focus for meritocracy in Finland as it is now the center of attention in (semi-)public discussion, too.

We can’t attack with inheritance tax immediately as the rich are poor here (again, compared to bigger world) and they do not show off so much. Also schooling is free for everyone and the results have rated Finland as one of the best countries reagrding education so that’s not in the spearhead, either.

But the main parties are actually corrupted because of so close ties to certain institutions and organisations that fund them and the discipline inside the parties that is enforced by party elites. So we can try to get the point of meritocratic voting system to people and see how things develop from that. It’s quite easy for everyone to see - and there is discussion about our way of democracy now before elections - that we have great disadvantages in our system. That’s what meritocracy will fix first.

All this was initiated because there was an editorial writing in Helsingin Sanomat ( ) wih the headline “Time is ripe for a change in voting system” which I commented from meritocratic point of view. And while going through Uusisuomi (New Finland) after being inspired by HS I noticed a few texts about the same subject, one of them was written by my old friend who is now a candidate for Pirate Party in Finland. He presented the idea of exams to parliament members so maybe he will convert to meritocracy :smile:

And now that I write this there is an article about the richest 1% in Finland as a sequel to another which told that there is just a few families represented in the list of the 20 richest Finnish persons. The facts are that wealth is accumulating. So actually it is possible to build something about that, too. Two persons in the richest people -scene have moved abroad to avoid inheritance tax and a third one is thinking about it.

As wealth accumulates social differencies become clearer, too. In no time it’s possible to make claims about the inheritance tax because poor kids don’t do so well in school as the rich ones so our priced education system is wasting a lot of potential just because we allow great priviledges (not so great that the American or UK rich kids get, tough) to some kids at the expence of others.

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Great work Klockars. Looks you’ve uncovered a few Meritocracy angles you can use there. Keep on Comrade :wink:

Just checking the old post… I had two blogs in Uusisuomi for some time. Inheritance Tax was completely refused by everyone (“communism” etc.) but the voting system improvement got a few positive comments instead of just negativity.

I removed them already because all the activity around the blogs stopped. I still have my profile and it is possible to write again.

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