The Finnish (former) prime minister Jyrki Katainen spoke about the factors of social and cultural change as he opened a meeting of the ministers of the National Coalition Party (Kokoomus) on the 14th, August 2013. He saw the thing from the perspective of the Finnish society, but the changes are worldwide: all over the world people are living a time of transition and change.
Pivotal factor in this change is the change of moral concepts of people. Individual citizens are coming more and more into the centre of the society. It has become more and more difficult to find a consensus among people. People simply don’t take commands any more, if they don’t agree with the commander. They are not willing to live according to the regulations given by public authorities. They are not willing to be patronized subordinates of administration, and don’t approve of the political correctness of the leading elite and its lapdog: the media.
Intuitive visions are stronger than authorities of the society. In previous times the role of the media in formation of opinions was clear. Nowadays people themselves want to search the information they need. The political environment in times of social media and digital information has changed essentially. It is easy to find information, it is easy to share, and it is easier for people to speak out.
At its best individualization of society strengthens our democracy.It is easier than before to have influence over things and to wield power. The political and economic elite cannot decide on their own any more, what happens. Individual citizens, small associations and other active groups can influence the development of the society in a remarkable way, if they can justify their viewpoints. “At its best this strengthens our civil society”, Katainen says.
According to studies only 9 % of Finnish citizens trust political decision-makers. This amount is probably the same size all over the world.
In other words: nine of ten citizens don’t trust the people, who make decisions on their behalf. “This situation cannot be brushed aside by saying that the establishment is always in the crossfire of criticism”, Katainen says. Criticism and trust are completely different things.
In this situation the strengthening of trust for decision making and for future must be emphasized. Therefore trust building must be a core component in policy making. “We have to create a positive, political climate for open discussion, where people are not afraid to put themselves on the line, where one learns by trial and error without fear of absolute condemnation and where everyone gets forward together”, Katainen says. “In my own thinking leadership means to be able to encourage, to be able to create favourable atmosphere for reforms, to mobilize people to participate, to allow them create their own future”, he continues. Political leaders must have confidence in citizens, if they want to gain their trust.
In Katainen’s view individualization of the society has lots of positive energy. The world of individuals foster creativity. Real democracy strengthens when people make their choices without asking – and without needing to ask – permission to act their own way. This is a great transformation, but we have not yet learned to utilize its full potential.
Some time ago I read in a forum a message, which said that Finland is the last communistic country in the western world. What is wrong with communism, if it works towards citizens’ democracy, I asked. It is not pluralistic democracy, someone replied.
But when the leading elite sees citizens as subordinates of administration, when the society is governed from the top downwards, it does not matter, if we call the society communistic or democratic. It is not real pluralistic democracy.
Sometimes I feel that the only party in the western democracies, which has democratic rights is money. For money itself the concept of democracy is unfamiliar. It knows only the right of the strongest, which in fact is the law of the jungle. Western democracies are democracies of the lobbers. Those who have the most resonant voice are most successful.
Finland is not a communistic country. Economic science knows our system as social market economy. It was developed in West-Germany after the World War II as a form of market capitalism combined with a social policy. It started with the observation that because economy does not know a mechanism, which secures the basic rights of the people, the state must regulate economic activities. This goal is also registered in the Lisbon Treaty of the European Union.
So, we have still hope that the establishment begins to put into effect the Rules for Judges written by Olaus Petri:
The good of the common man is the supreme law; and therefore, what is found useful for the common man shall be deemed the law even if the words of a written law would seem to order otherwise.
I think that people cannot afford to bargain over this principle. Science has indicated clearly enough that all people operate in one and the same energy field. Because every one of us continuously creates our common reality regardless, if we do it conscious or unconscious, if we have an executive position or not, we should work consciously for our common goals so that our long-term goals will be realised.
It is said that the level of civilization in a society becomes apparent in the fact how it treats its weakest citizens. A society can be civilized without being cultivated or sophisticated. Civilization is generally evidenced in high technology. Sophistication, the spiritual level of a society can be seen in social relationships. It is nobleness of the heart. Its highest criterion is conscience; how we let the universal consciousness lead our lives. Accordingly, sophistication has nothing to do with the snobbery or cultural consciousness of the upper classes.
Conscience, which is the innate navigator in every individual does not need any external authorities to work properly. It works in every human being naturally according to the same principles, because it is one and the same consciousness between people, although individuals differ from each other.
The level of (spiritual) sophistication has also an impact on the competitive position of a society. Therefore it should be taken into account when one measures economic competitiveness.
Political horse trading, old boy networks and every kind of manipulation and undermining practices at the cost of common good in order to promote own short-term interests should in a democracy be punishable like direct bribery, because these obscure practices of the men behind the curtain set up a basis for the structural corruption of democracy.
Regarding the Finnish society the most harmful political horse trading was made in the end of the 60s, as Swedish language became mandatory at every level of education. Over the years Finnish-speaking Finns have become servants for the small Swedish-speaking minority, which effectively prevents the society from utilizing its available resources in a best possible way. 20 Finnish-speaking Finns learn Swedish at school as a foreign language (although national language) in order to secure services for one Swedish-speaking citizen.
How is it possible that nothing has been made to change this absurd situation, although everyone knows that the reason for this absurdity is political horse trading, and Swedish became mandatory in schools contrary to the recommendations of experts?
Generally, it happens that if a fraud or an agreement, which is made against common rules is disclosed, the agreement will be nullified and the law breakers take responsibility for their actions.
It is said that the Swedish-speaking minority manages 80 % of the assets in Finland. It means that the elite of the minority, which as a whole is only 5 % of the Finnish population, manages 80 % of the wealth in the whole country. This relation is as twisted as the global relation, when one percent of the world’s population manages 80 % of the worlds income.
In order to make the minority feel even more at home, this money is set on spawn in foundations, which pay no taxes.
How is this possible in a country, which calls itself a democracy?
Maybe this has something to do with the fact that the party of the Finland-Swedes, which in the whole country has about 4 to 5 % support, and which is lobbying mainly for the rights regarding the language of the minority, has had almost for 40 years (since 1975) in every government 2 – 6 ministries.
However, the speech of Jyrki Katainen gives us hope that the time of political horse trading is over and decision-makers begin to handle according to the Rules for Judges written by Olaus Petri.
It remains to be seen how sincere Katainen is by defining his policy. But it is sure that if his policy has tangible results, Jyrki Katainen will be recorded in history as a prime minister, who initiated a new political culture.