In buitenlandse kranten kom je soms interessante opnies tegen. Zoals onderstaande column van een Amerikaanse redacteur die drie weken in Finland verbleef.
Why can’t we be more like Finland?
Guestcolumn from Robert G. Kaiser, an associate editor of The Washington Post, in the Seattle Times.
Finland is a leading example of the northern European view that a successful, competitive society should provide basic social services to all its citizens at affordable prices or at no cost.
This isn’t controversial in Finland; it’s taken for granted. For a patriotic American like me, the Finns present a difficult challenge: If we Americans are so rich and so smart, why can’t we treat our citizens as well as the Finns treat theirs?
Finns have one of the world’s most-generous systems of state-funded educational, medical and welfare services. They pay nothing for education at any level, including medical school or law school. Their medical care, which contributes to an infant-mortality rate that is half of what ours is and a life-expectancy greater than ours, costs relatively little. (Finns devote 7 percent of gross domestic product to health care; we spend 15 percent.) Finnish senior citizens are well cared for. Unemployment benefits are good and last, in one form or another, indefinitely.
On the other hand, Finns live in smaller homes than Americans and consume a lot less. They spend relatively little on national defense, though they still have universal male conscription, and it is popular.
Their per capita national income is about 30 percent lower than ours. Private consumption of goods and services represents about 52 percent of Finland’s economy, and 71 percent of the United States’. Finns pay considerably higher taxes — nearly half their income — while Americans pay about 30 percent on average to federal, state and local governments.
Should we be learning from Finland?
Lees het hele stuk op de site van The Seatlle Times.
zondag 20 november 2005 :: 18.56 uur