Wednesday, December 21, 2011

5 things The United States could learn from Finland

OK, I realize that I might have been a little bit harsh on Finland in my first post, but that wasn't the point.  I actually find that there are many differences between the United States and Finland and many of those favor Finland.  There are many things that work beautifully in a social democracy such as Finland. These are among the top items in no particular order or ranking.

1. Finnish education system - The Finnish education system has been ranked at or near the top of statistics for a few years now.  Much higher than the United States in many different areas. They are excelling in Reading, Math and Sciences.  There are many articles to back this up, so just Google "Finland Education" if you want to find out more.  There are a few key reasons behind this. First of all, teaching is a very esteemed position and all teachers must have a Master's degree.  Secondly, Finnish schools are more hands on, students are encouraged to go out and interact with their surroundings as part of their education. Also, testing and homework is not stressed the same way as in the United States. "Less is More" seems to be a more practical way of learning

2. Recycling - Since moving to Finland, I have been astonished at all the different items that people actually take the time to recycle.  There are separate bins for biodegradable, paper items, regular garbage, cans and bottles, batteries, etc.  I think it really works because there is actually a much bigger incentive to do it.  Large bottles and smaller bottles are 20 and 40 cents (Euros) and since that price is included in your purchase, you would end up losing a lot in the long run if you didn't bother to recycle.  Even cans are worth 15 cents each in Finland.  In the US the amount of money is so little that most people just leave their cans and bottle out to the curbside or throw them away in the garbage can.  Whazzup United States - where is the incentive!

3. Environment - Finland seems to have much stricter rules on all things related to the environment.  Clean water, clean gas, clean factories, etc.  There is a reason why gas costs so much in Finland.  The higher gas standards and environmental regulations all fit into the bigger picture.  Your tax dollars are put to good work in Finland. I don't mind paying a bit more to live in a "clean" society.

4.  Access to free Healthcare - This one is a gargantuan.  Can you imagine in the US if everyone had access to free healthcare and it had nothing to do with your job?  :)  Well that is a reality in Finland.  You only have to be a citizen or resident and you simply get Healthcare for free.  The workforce doesn't get any special privileges to different levels of healthcare in this system.  It is really for everyone and it seems to work.  I haven't heard any stories about people waiting in line for hours or other propaganda you might hear on US television regarding healthcare in more socialized societies.  

5. Access to free Universities - Another great benefit of living in Finland.  Everyone has access to the Universities and they are essentially free.  Of course you must get admitted to them, but they even have "open Universities" for those wishing to simply drop in.  I have met many people who essentially came to Finland to take advantage of the education system.  


  1. How exactly is Finnish gas "cleaner" than US gas?


  2. Mason - I got this comment from this source,41,540,17988,7906,14210

    This is the main gas used in Finland.

    "95 E10 gasoline, containing a maximum of 10% ethanol, and suitable for the majority of today’s engines, is set to become the standard-octane gasoline in Europe from the beginning of 2011. The fuel’s higher bio content will help reduce the amount of carbon dioxide emissions released by traffic and transport."

    Seems that this gas which is becoming the standard in Europe is helping to reduce carbon dioxide emission levels. So, I guess in that effect it is "cleaner".