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Sign reads:

I am a 21 year-old student from Finland.
It makes me sad to hear how Americans are suffering.
Here, our taxes are high but we all benefit from them.
I grew up in the countryside and always had access to the same services that people in the city did.
My university is known around the world in my field and my education is not only free, but my government pays ME to go to university. Everyone has a right to this.
Everyone has a right to the best healthcare, there is no such thing as health insurance.
I am young now and able to take risks and pursue my passion because I will never have to worry about starving if I loose my job or my business fails.
I know that when I am old my state pension will be there for me so that I can enjoy my retirement.
We call this the Nordic Model, and under it we live well and our businesses are among the most competitive in the world. I am grateful to have been born a citizen of a country that cares for its people, and I hope that one day the USA will take example from us.
I am the 99%.
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It's always so touching to hear how people in other countries care about our problems. It's also so sad to hear how horrible we have it...
Lol... Nice to have such a small country, too. Wouldn't work here.
It's true that the demographics are very different in Finland than here in the US. I suspect ideology may be a bigger barrier here than demographics though.
Wow, I'm sure they are all just 'happied' to death by their own hand. I'll be back tomorrow Mr. Wheeler after doing so research of my own. The kid's proud of his nation, and wishes us only good health and such. Sure, ideologically we are light year's from Finland, but wow man, why jump the kid. Hey, I'm a liberal freakin' rocker, come get ya some.
I'm not certain what you are trying to say with the suicide rate/numbers. But according to Google and Wikipedia, Finland has a population of just over 5 million, and a suicide rate of roughly 17 (i rounded down) per 100,000 people, so roughly 850 suicides a year.

The United States of America has a population of ~310 million and a suicide rate of 11 (i rounded down again) per 100,000 people, so roughly 34,100 suicides per year.

What do these numbers solve though? Nothing I can think of. I honestly don't see how it pertains to the post.
Another example of how Lobbyist's have destroyed the American way. They stand up for those with the money and the power to further there profits at the expense of the people who built the country on the sweat of there backs! Piss on the poor so the rich can profit, I am one of the 99%
+Christopher Wheeler From

Finland is one of the happiest places on earth. At least, that’s what social scientists have found.

In 2010, Finland topped Newsweek’s list of the world’s best countries and was named the second happiest country by the Gallup World Poll and the Organization for Economic Co-Operation and Development (ranking just below Denmark).

Newsweek’s study calculated scores based on categories of health, education, quality of life, economic dynamism and political environment, while Gallup’s four-year survey judged happiness based on the subjective categories of life satisfaction and daily experiences.

There’s one thing that happiness studies seem to leave out, however. Some of the happiest countries in the world – Finland, Denmark, Iceland, Switzerland and the United States, for instance – also have the highest suicide rates in the world.

Cold weather and darkness are often blamed for high rates of depression in Finland, but in the US, sunny Hawaii, which ranks second nationally in life satisfaction, has the fifth highest suicide rate. Conversely, New York, which is equal parts sun and rain, ranks 45th in life satisfaction (out of 50 states), but has the lowest suicide rate nationally.
Dont care about Finland, they have a fraction of our population and our debt. I prefer to do things on my own, I wont sell my soul to the state.
Zac B
That sounds too good to be true...

I'm sure there must be some problems.
lol. its cute that this kid thinks the USA is behind Finland on ANY issue... let alone human rights

enjoy socialism buddy.
There is a massive difference between the USes education system and theirs. Theirs is far better. But to start with they don't keep the retard or slow learning children in the same system and burden it with those kids at all. they learn at their own pace for the most part they have a time limit to complete all material in though.

I would love it if the US modeled our education system after theirs. But the liberals would never go for it and ever bleeding heart would be upset that some kids felt put out because they were not in normal classes and felts singled out. Which is why our education system is in the shit hole it is today. Then we came up with the idea that we should provide an equal education to all kids. Great so you can't teach a 70 IQ child astrophysics or brain surgery so what do you do. You retard the lessons so a 70 or 80 IQ child can pass. Remember 1/2 the population has less than a 100IQ. We aren't made equal to start with and trying to treat everyone as if they are equal in this type of issue is stupid.

It is why our education system went down hill for 50+ years.
It IS too good to be true. It's complete nonsense. He "hears Americans are suffering." Really? Only thing we're suffering from is a Socialist dictator who thinks he's a king. If that child thinks his Socialist country is so great, that's his problem. When he grows up and discovers that someone else has to WORK to pay for all that "free" stuff, he'll feel differently. That's the thing about Socialism. It's attractive to children. Grownups need to live in reality.
I think it is a bit unfair to compare the way a country with only 5-7 million people in it runs to how a country with well over 300 million people in it does...
The fact is we could provide every citizens in this country a education with pretty much no tax dollars at all. Look at the money social media creates building an online education system and paying for it the same way or with other similar methods and using schools more for tutoring rather than primary education would cut over 90% of the costs. You could get rid of 90% of the administrator staff and so on. Teachers would be used more to help those who need it. Kids could learn at their own pace. They wouldn't be stuck in class because that is what most the kids their age are limited to doing.

The point is we don't need government to solve this problem if enough of us citizens decide to get together and make a project like this and get it working and accepted. It would solve most the educational issues to boot.
Sweden is very different from the US. The country own the oil industry from what I understand so everyone benefits from that or doesn't depending on which way you want to look at it. Most of the working class are educated and actually pay taxes unlike here 50% pay no taxes at all. The rest are left flipping the bill for their asses. Frankly if we got rid of that half we probably could do the same also. The 20-40 million illegals here getting benefits isn't helping. It all ads up.

Nothing is going to get fixed till we make some constitutional changes outlawing socialism and communism and so on in this country. Force the people who are lazy to get their asses back to work and kick the uninvited leaches the fuck out.
Interesting point (your second comment on education), +George Hayes. As a homeschooler I can readily attest that many of us can provide an outstanding education to our children without any assistance from the state. Some however, cannot, for a variety of reasons including both parents working, lack of necessary parental education or motivation, etc. etc.

Yes, online education and other DIY educational solutions offer lots of promise. I'm just not sure we'll be able to get rid of state funded, brick and mortar schools altogether. I'd sure as heck like to make them a LOT better though!
Good come George back. That will show them. lol
Rebecca is entitled to be proud of her country as we Americans are proud of ours. Hers does sound nice.

But let's all keep in mind the countries where people are starving, oppressed, or living lives of desperation. Be thankful for what we have. Rebecca - don't feel sorry for us. Feel sorry for the African nations with the highest hunger indexes in the world. Or post-earthquake Haiti. Or the children being tortured in Syria. By comparison, we are doing okay.
Great, now add 2 million new people every year for 30 years that don't pay those taxes but get every single one of the benefits. Take a look at that model and tell me how well you see it working. Now you have an idea of our situation.

I'm getting tired of people say "how come we don't model our country after this small European country a fraction of our size?"
Systems like this sound like a utopia but unfortunately unsustainable,besides I,d rather gov just stay outta my way and allow me to create my own good fortune.It's much more satisfying that way to me.But hey if you trust your gov enough to allow them that much power for a bit of comfort then more power to you sir.
America has been through this before. And as before, you see a lot of communities pulling together. More and more people are shopping locally and supporting domestic products instead of the cheaper mass imports. As people realize that the government can't and should not be responsible for their happiness or survival, they're finding creative ways to stay afloat. We'll survive. We just need to keep the positive outlook and continue to look for opportunities.
+David Cobb Finland has been sustaining it for a while now.

And for the most part, Finland's gov't is doing what gov'ts are supposed to be doing, looking after their citizens.

I think that is something many gov'ts have forgotten.
Yeah, he'll be debt free, and have a decent education. I'd say that's a good start, wouldn't you?
As an American now living in Australia, i see a lot of the same discussions about how bad it must be in America compared to here. The answer is simple, and neither country is more correct than the other:
- In America, the tax rate is a lot lower, you keep more of your money, and the government expects you to be able to take care of yourself with it.
- In Australia (et all Socialist countries) The government takes a lot more of your money, and takes it as their burden to care for the people.

Neither view is right or wrong, just different paradigms.

To the kids lucky enough to have your government pay you to go to college, keep in mind the money isn't growing on trees. There is a hard working mom and dad somewhere trying to provide for their own family who are handing over a great deal of their income so you get free money.

To the kids in America upset that they dont get free cash to attend college, take heart that when you get out of university and have a good job of your own, you wont be burdened with high taxes just so that those coming behind you get free money to attend college.

In a continually shrinking world, today more than ever you can choose which political system best suits you, and make your life there. Go for it I say, choose the system that works best for you.
Depends on the cost. How many people are going to work their entire lives to put him through college? What is he going to do with the degree? I have yet to work in the same field as the degree that I paid for myself.
Nords and Americans have such different traditions and values that such comparisons are not even meaningful. Americans are born of the freedom that created this nation and cherish it above all. The opportunity to excel above the norm (not just be part of it) is what drives our entire culture of innovation and leadership. I for one would perish knowing that my horizon is defined by a social agreement on what is sufficient. European influences have only lead to the dulling of the sharpness of our dreams and aspirations. Wishing us the fate of countries like Finland is to wish us demise and a banishment of the vibrant culture that has made such positive impact on the world (and yes, on Finland as well).
+Chris Peters Had the same conversation with a friend who went to live on Oz with his wife for a few years. Said Oz was better than the US for about the first 6 months. I told him wait and see. He now realizes that every country has its own share of problems. Eventually they figured out it was easier for her to get a citizenship here than for him to get a citizenship their. Go figure.
+Rebecca McMillan You are a traitor and a terrible person. If you like it so much better there, why don't you just move? What keeps you? If everything is better... why not?
Jim A
My friend, nothing is free. By the time you die you will have paid for it several times over, called high taxes. There is a reason why Finland does not have the investment that this country once had. AS taxes go up, there is less money to invest.
How about innovation? Name one thing that was invented in Finland. I think it is save to say that the world could do without Finland. Most people wouldn't even notice. The same isn't true for the US.
+Lucius Crowe - Yeah, right. You have no idea what I think about Finland or the US. I'd suggest you go back and read what I wrote in the comment stream as opposed to what appears in the photo and caption. I posted the Finnish student's statement because I considered it interesting and a useful exercise to look at things from another point of view.
How much do they spend on the military? Maybe we should get out of Europe and let the European's protect themselves from .... exactly what do they need protection from? Russia? Yeah, I guess the Russians could drop a truck load of bad vodka on Finland.
+Rebecca McMillan Sounds like he needs a bunch of greedy, bribe taking politicians AKA Senatakers Don't worry Rebecca, I'll send a bunch right over to straighten out that problem in Finland.
+kevin Johnson : GDP doesn't tell the whole story, especially doesn't show the gap between rich and poor.
A little math: let's take a community of 10 people, 1 makes $910,000/year, and the 9 others make $10,000. That's a pretty big gap. However, on average, per capita, the people in this community make $100,000 per year.
This is to show that GDP, per capita, doesn't show the whole story. You have to understand the story underneath.
I like to live in a country where people are considered and valued as human beings.
Parasites. We should just cut out military spending and let the rest of the world fend for itself.
No free lunch!! Where is the cost?
My biggest problem is that folks immediately dismiss every aspect of another country's system when one part of it doesn't work for them. Why can't we all look at each others systems and learn from the parts that do work? No one should be denied health insurance or charged such an enormous amount that it means they can't pay for basic needs, essentially pushing them away from health insurance a different way. It's extraordinarily Darwinian and for that we may as well be animals and just support the "fittest" and ignore what the "weak" may have to offer. Wait, we were kinda already doing that.

No system is perfect, even Japan is becoming unsustainable because their population pyramid was thrown off (too many old, not enough young workers) but it's rooted in efficiency where ours is rooted in money. They've standardized their costs and eliminated a lot of the huge strives toward profit in their system. When we focus on profit and play with margins, how to cut folks or cut their care, that means life or death for people so we can what? Eat Filet Mignon every night or get a house that's way beyond what we need?. If we could pull some of those efficiencies over here, and maybe still manage a way for great health care and freedoms, and we maybe cut some of the administrative overhead that we invest in such as the folks they hire that find ways to deny people or look for every loophole to deny certain claims we might be a bit better off, who knows?

When you look at how someone else does it, we don't have to either 100% agree or reject it entirely, look at the good and think harder on how to make it work for us.
Your Finnish friend is an idiot.
It is amazing how everyone is being trolled by this mentally challenged kid who can't even take a picture.
Sounds great, but how does it scale to 350 million citizens?
+Stephen King yep. I've been here a year and a half now. Looking at a huge price hike coming in July with the Carbon Tax, needing a million dollars just to buy a simple 2 bedroom home, and paying 48% tax on top of 10% gst on everything I buy. Sydney is one of the most expensive places in the world to live, and yet its beautiful enough to justify it. As a non-citizen I (rightly so) get none of the benefits of the taxes I pay, and yet here I am.
As with everything, I'm a middle-ist. I don't want a government to watch me starve when I need help, and I dont want a government that takes my precious earned wage just to give it away free to other people who are perfectly capable of earning a wage of their own.
In my mind "From each according to their ability, to each according to their need" is the only perfect way to run a government, but it completely fails with the lazy and the overly motivated, thus will never work on a large scale.
comparing countries is like comparing apples to oranges since there are so many factors, but for those that want to try:

Some interesting things, the US has a longer primary education, yet the Fins spend more time in school. US pays significantly more for teachers, yet the Fins have better results...there are other areas you can compare to, economy, energy, etc.
I like the US model. Work your butt off, make money. Work your butt off more, make more money. I guess I must be crazy because my parents told me "you reap what you sow". I work and keep working on getting better, and so far its worked out... weird? I have been to other countries, I would not trade the United States for any of them. I also like Capitalism, because anyone can make it here in the US.
Wrong, +Lucius Crowe, I did not write the sign, I posted it from another source. Because I downloaded the photo from another source (Facebook), my name is attached to the photo here on G+. I am neither the person in the photo, nor the author of the sign/caption. Clear? Clearly you are bent on hating, but you might make sure you aim properly.
So. five million can do it. Why can't 320 million?

Do we really need to go there?

5 million sounds like a State population to me...Sounds lke that kid wants us to endorse FEDERALISM.
Canada has the #2 best education in the top 10. USA was #9 in the top 10 But now isn't even on the list. China is #1.You can bet that we will go the way of Rome if we don't stop the direction we are going in.
In China, often students and teachers go to school on Saturdays and Sundays. Will our unions allow this?
+Matthieu Tuvignon concerning your reply to +kevin Johnson, that's why we measure standard deviation. The larger the deviation, the less that average fits the population. I think your numbers are a far shot though. Try comparing $300k to $15k instead.
Well said. Spent some considerable time in Norway, Sweden & Denmark on business. Always impressed by how well educated the people of the Nordics are. If you haven't lived their don't be so quick to knock what these countries have. Norway has a budget surplus that would make us Americans green with envy. I wish my parents had Sweden's healthcare system as they lived out their last years on this earth suffering with Alzhiemer's and congetive heart failure.

The fact that evey person in the Nordics is fluent in multple languages speaks to the quality of the education system. You would be hard pressed to find a 21 year old American student fluent multiple languages.
"There are truths on this side of the Pyrennes, that are falsehoods on the other side" Rene Blase Pascal
+James New Norway? Has lots of oil. And less than 10 million people. Apple? Meet Orange.
Isn't Norway a net exporter of oil? A budget surplus should be expected in tiny countries with crucial energy resources...They also have virtually NO standing in any kind of geopolitical arena. AKA, they are relatively unimportant.

The U.S. is currently trying to run a world empire with a fiat currency and military operations going on all over the world all day every day. Our Federal Reserve keeps EU and US afloat by loaning trillions of dollars of money into existence.

What's going on in Norway?
+Julio Madriz I've seen a man work his entire life to support his family and try to get his three kids through college and while paying for their various college fees be diagnosed with cancer. His cancer treatments hit a point where he hit what his insurance deemed his "lifetime limit" and they had no out of pocket maximum. Because of the enormous costs of healthcare so lovingly produced by capitalism, that man that worked all his life had to sell his house and two of his children (one who I was in school with) had to immediately pick up full time jobs to help support the family and keep their father alive. He's cancer free now, after having to declare bankruptcy. Sometimes life deals you crap cards, capitalism doesn't cover that and our society's answer is often just "sorry about your luck".
I don't want to pay higher taxes so that this retard can fail at a business and not have to worry about it. If you take away all risk there is no reward. I work damn hard for my money and I want to keep every penny. The more government there is the less freedom we have and the more reliant on Uncle Sam we become. AKA Greece and Spain.
+Julio Madriz glad it's working for you. Wish I could say that it was for everyone I know. I Know more than a few people who work their asses off who can't afford a place to live, to put food on the table for their family, pay the medical bills, etc. I'm not saying the dream is dead. Lot's of people still have and share the dream of working hard and becoming prosperous. I'm saying that not everyone is getting that experience. If you are, great. But recognize that the system is broken. And what we have here is no longer Capitalism. It just seems to wear the cloak of Capitalism.
Dude, it ain't called the wild wild west because mickey mouse is runnin around the white house. Dig the sentiments, however we got this. Its how Americans roll. After all, if our founders wanted the Nordic life they would went north instead of west. One Love :)
Maybe you don't realize it, but Finland is a tiny country, and the U.S. is huge. Because of that, we cannot operate same. Now, I' m not sure exactly what you are talking about, by services that you can get in the city that you can't get in the country. If you are talking about cable, natural gas, city water, and stuff like that, you can keep your nasty city water and we'll keep our well water. As for cable and natural gas, can you imagine how much it would cost companies to run cables or pipes twenty miles for ten houses?

Also, what's the point of the government taking your money, paying people to count it, and giving back to you? That's essentially what they're doing.

Your letter is completely irrelevant and poorly thought out. Sorry.

Oh, and by the way, you're actually the growing 20% that is out touch with reality and has absolutely no clue what the constitution says or what the government is for.
Given the choice between Finland and the USA, most Finnish people will choose Finland and most Americans will choose the USA.

People from any other country would choose based on what is best for them. If you are a top 10% income earner, then maybe the USA might suit you. If you care about quality of life and aren't rich or in a well-paying profession, you'd choose Finland.
"If you are a top 10% income earner, then maybe the USA might suit you. If you care about quality of life and aren't rich or in a well-paying profession, you'd choose Finland."

What subjective baseless conjecture.
Another ad paid for by the "re-elect Obama campaign
Where to start?

First of all: with all the whining in the US, people in other countries think that the border crossings are overloaded with millions trying to escape the horrible United States.

We don't need any jackass's pity.

The US is still the country of opportunity as proven by all the people coming here, from the educated ones winning the Nobel prizes, to the uneducated ones working in the service sector and still achieving a level of financial success and standard of living that would have eluded them in their home country.

The Finnish dude lost me at "free" education. You are not paying anything for it now, but soon you will pay through the nose for it.
AGAIN: just because you are not paying for something (goods and services) right now, that does not make them free.

Brian Martinez: if you look at the suicide rate you see that you are >50% more likely to commit suicide in Finland than in the US.
If the Finnish are so happy why do they kill themselves and have a huge problem with alcoholism?

As Chris Peters stated (BTW: shame on you for making a nuanced point, this is the internet where you get retarded one-liners and "LOL" comments) the US has been historically a young country that stressed the pioneer spirit of self-reliance and hard work. European countries are much older and have turned into nanny states that take all responsibility from the individual. East European countries had perfected the system with cradle-to-grave socialist/communist Government takeover of every aspect of life. My view is that if you want to work hard and achieve something the US of A is the place to be. If you abdicate any say in your life and let the Government take over everything because you are too lazy to think for yourself or you are just happy sucking on the welfare tits, then Europe is the place to be.

Regarding the economy: I just remember how Nokia is shrinking and innovative US Companies (with manufacturing in China) are surpassing them.

Regarding the healthcare issue: the US has the best cancer survival rates and leads in many other health-care statistics. The best comparison to Finland would probably be Minnesota with a huge Scandinavian population. You take their health statistics and they can go toe to toe with any European country. Of course if you add illegal pregnant immigrants just crossing the border to have a baby that had no prenatal care and if you count 25 weekers in your fetal mortality rate things look much worse here. And don't get me started about premature, underweight neonates from crack users...

Luckily (unless you are a wanted criminal) you have the right to leave the US and achieve happiness somewhere else.
I try my best to make the US the best country it can be.

I could go on and on, but I have to get up at 5:30 and work.
I'm getting so tired of posts like this from the "99%". If you talk to the "99%" in most European countries that socialize a lot of their services like this... they are just as disgusted with their governments as we in America are. Turns out in the end, life is difficult, no matter where you live - and you're going to have to work hard AND smart to better your life and the lives of your children. Who wouldn't want a free ride when it comes to education, healthcare, etc.. but the reality is that it comes with a cost, that cost being individual liberties. Most people are either 1) too naive to do the math and really understand that cost or 2) fully understand it, but would much rather get their free ride while they can. Liberal politicians love playing into this mindset because it's easy to appeal to either of those 2 groups and get them to vote them into office.

America had the greatest system ever put into place because our forefathers were able to start fresh and learn from all of the civilizations that came before them, but we're at a tipping point now where there are nearly as many people that have a hand out, as those that are willing to work hard.. and the politicians on the left know this and realize they can continue to get elected by pandering to the fore mentioned.

I still want to know how the 1% became the bad guys? And what specifically defines 1%? Is it having a million dollars in the bank? 5 million? Is making $150,000 a year bad? is that the 1%? For 2/3 of the world population, $150,000 US would be considered TOTAL excess and greed.. with that money you could afford a new car, LED televisions, new computers, etc. 2/3 of the population would love to have a chance to have just "the basics". Isn't wealth all relative? Don't get me wrong, I want to see anyone that steals or corruptly earns their millions in jail (Bernie Madoff, etc), but isn't that more like the .001%? Or is it that everyone with $10,000,000 plus ONLY earned their money by taking advantage of others? Do we seriously think that way?

What do people mean when they talk about "exploiting the American worker?" Isn't that sort of why you're hired in the first place into ANY job? I've never had a job where I didn't feel like I was working WAY harder than the CEO or the investors of the company, but they were the ones that took the risk (a risk by the way, that I could have taken too). And if you feel your place of employment is taking advantage of you, can't you just find another job?

Companies aren't created as charities, they are started by individuals that take risks to earn a profit. Why is that bad? Henry Ford didn't move to Detroit to go "create jobs" - he went there to make a lot of money making cars, which by the way he needed a few helpers to help him create the cars so he hired them. Since when did we turn from being a culture in which one person needs help so he offers another person a job, to a culture in which the person that needs a job gets incredibly frustrated when NO ONE will hire him / her and holds it against those that start companies? Why wouldn't you start your own company? Is it that people that find their own work by starting their own businesses truly are smarter? They at least figured how to get what they wanted as opposed to crossing fingers and hoping that someone will want them.

Anyway, I'm sure Finland is a great place for a 21 year old, but he's still at the receiving end of the stick so of course it's wonderful. He'll eventually have to start paying for others to get their free education / healthcare at which point he might not be as enthusiastic.
To see what can happen to a welfare state one only needs to look to Greece. What works for Finland doesn’t necessarily work for the US. In practical terms Finland is economically equal to Wisconsin which is the 21st state in terms of Gross State Product (GSP).

Finland population: 5,404,956
Wisconsin population: 5,711,767

Finland GDP: $217,950,000,000
Wisconsin GDP: $251,400,000,000

Finland GDP per capita: $36,723.292
Wisconsin GDP per capita: $44,105

Finland is about the size of Montana, our third largest state. Finland is rather small compared to the US. Both in population and area.

The world decries the United States military power but I wonder how the Soviet Union would have treated Finland without the US as a powerful counterweight? While Finland spent the postwar years cowering in face of the Soviet threat the US stood against it. Thanks to our superior economic system we were able to outspend the Soviets on military expenditures without crippling our economy.

We spent Trillions of dollars to defend Europe and Asia. Our dividend is the fact that Europe and parts of Asia have successful, inclusive economies and political systems. Without the economic system we currently have this would have been impossible.

You keep your welfare state. Maybe when you become the world’s number one economy you can preach to us
That's the thing.... we can't expect to be able to comfortably afford 'socialism' while at the same time funding our 'world police'. One or the other... or taxes.
Many American's believe that one of the great things about their country is that anyone can "make it" if they just work hard. The belief that the USA is a pure meritocracy allows many rich people to accept the poverty they see around them. In fact they seem to see it as a natural moral outcome - reflecting the inherit worth of the individuals concerned.

Ironically, it is much harder to make it in America that in most other developed countries. The reality is that social mobility is much higher in the the "socialist" countries such as England, Australia, Germany, Norway, etc... So it really is true that if you can "make it here, you can make it anywhere". USA is the hardest nation in the world in which to succeed.
However, most importantly - such a system should not cull the desire to succeed at whatever passion you pursue - and at the same time promote the understanding that the society benefits when one helps others
+Damien Hogan That would explain our pitiful 25.48% of the world’s GDP; we just can’t seem to succeed.
There's some xenophobia going on in this discussion-- not so sure why some Americans still fail to realize that we're a nation of immigrants (with a smattering of natives) and that heterogeneity defines this country. Such fear/hatred does not improve matters.

On another thread, while it's probably not in the best interests of any country to radically change structures, incremental changes toward an end that we have an agreed upon consensus toward reaching is the basis of our government-- just like all other legitimate governments. I think most Americans can agree that we want the next generation to have a better life than our own. Defining 'better' in a generalized context can be thorny, but people could use objective measures like median household income, various public health measures per capita, CO2 in the atmosphere, education comparisons across nations, etc. I admittedly could not define it on my own, it's something that comes through discussion with others. Once agreed upon, then steps can be made to try to meet those interests, whereby the means should not be so important as long as we get closer to meeting such interests. This is a social contract, we have one in the Constitution.

As for +Norbert Sluzewski, whether you like it or not, by being engaged in society, you adhere yourself to a social contract on what is acceptable (or sufficient as you said) and what is not. Any title that you may hold in your profession is a title given to you because you met requirements that were deemed sufficient to the organization. With respect to currency, we all agree that a $20 bill has the value we attach to it (objectively, it's just paper with no utilitarian value). Your assumption that other countries, just because they integrate more socialism into their systems, have low ceilings lacks logical grounding. People cannot dream big and achieve in Scandinavia? How about the founders of IKEA? Maersk? Even Lego? They weren't being limited, if anything, by in large, most people in Scandinavia are empowered to have the opportunity to do something great.

In the US, we say we believe in equal opportunity, but ultimately, does the middle-class white guy have the same opportunity to succeed as the working-class black girl? I can be more extreme with that scenario and say an upper-class white guy, but the point is the same. Our social and economic structure limits the lower classes from receiving anywhere near the same opportunities to succeed in life as those with wealthier means. This does not mean that people cannot break through, but that is the exception. It's old news that working hard will get you somewhere in the US, that's not necessarily enough to achieve social mobility, the cards are stacked against the younger generations from doing the same thing that the older generations were able to do in the past. I'm not speaking out of spite or bitterness, I broke through.

To claim that Finland, or Europe for that matter, has a social agreement for what is sufficient-- and the USA doesn't-- is preposterous. Social agreements make up society. I agree that the US has had a positive effect, in many respects, on the world, so has Scandinavia/Europe-- also, in many ways. The exchange of ideas from different cultures adds value. However, I don't know what you mean by wishing the fate of countries like Finland, since it's not clear as to what 'fate' you mean. If you mean a more complete understanding of equal opportunity, then I suppose I somehow condemn our culture.
+Damien Hogan "Ironically, it is much harder to make it in America". Define "make it"? If by "make it" you're talking about gaining mass amounts of wealth, tell me a country ANYWHERE in the world that is easier than the US? "Making it" isn't done by working hard, you should know that - "making it" is achieved by working smart. There are plenty of hard working factory workers that break a sweat every day and will never "make it" in that system. Again, I'd love to know your definition of "make it"
+Rebecca McMillan Brick and mortar schools would still have a place. They would be used for students who have a difficulty in a subject. As I said teacher would be more of tutors rather than going over a lesson plan.

As for families with two parents at work. If we apply a lot of this type of idea across the board we probably could reduce the taxes enough for many families to switch to one parent working from home or not working at all.

If people were more like they were in the old days and everyone knew their neighbors then groups could work together to watch the children and alternate the times and so on. There are groups now that do it with current home schooling. They also collaborate on helping with the various subject matters when needed.

As to parents who don't have the education to help their children. Maybe, a school system like this will be an opportunity for them to improve themselves as well. Frankly there is little reason it could be extended to everyone. I mean on the planet. If it is made open source and the curriculum is developed using open material then any country could use it and adapt it to their language and needs.

I think if we use this mind set to attack problems rather than trying to rely on government to solve them or regulate them we can probably cut the tax burden and make a lot more things affordable including the ability for one parent to stay home if they want.
+George Hayes - Interesting, I'm in favor of smaller scale solutions not because they will reduce our tax burden, but because, in my experience, they are more flexible and do a better job meeting the needs of individuals.

In addition to homeschooling my own son, we also participate in a homeschooling co-op. Teaching duties are rotated and shared among parents to that each of us can teach the topics we know best and are passionate about. My son also takes a number of classes that cater to homeschoolers in the community. All told he's getting an amazing education at a fraction of the cost of public or private education.

My husband has been teaching online for a decade. He also teaches at a local university. In a few months I'll begin teaching online as well. Education is definitely moving away from conventional models into some interesting new terrain, but there are sure to be lots of bumps and uncertainties to work out along the way. There are no panaceas.
I love all the mixed posts in this kind of thread.
Illegal aliens come from the south blah blah blah. We have that problem in Canada too. We call them Americans and pay for their healthcare.
Illegal aliens are such a problem, make it easier to become a citizen like your country was founded on and make them pay taxes.
"I don't want to pay for someone else to be lazy" Then you get sick and can't work, pay your bills, and start begging for help, and become the "lazy". It's also just a selfish dick move to say/do. I could go on, but I stopped reading comments about half way through.
+Jason Death I cant agree more with you. Unfortunately they will never let that happen. The reason they say immigrants are the problem is because people love to blame someone. Just looking for a scapegoat to point the finger. I wouldn't mind paying more in taxes if it meant that I can go outside knowing that if something where to happen, I would get treated without worrying and putting more pressure on my family. I love America but it will never be the #1 country until it gets it stuff straight.
A lot of Canadians have told me about your healthcare, and I don't want any part of it. I live close to the Canadian border, and not one person I know has ever gone up there for your healthcare. Lots of Canadians coming down here for our healthcare. Out of curiosity, where in Canada do you live? By the way, latest census reports indicate that Canada puts a heavier burden on the US in terms of illicit work and healthcare than illegal Mexican immigrants. What does Canada have to say about that?
Its important to keep in mind that macro economy's managing process just like water physical feature in nature that slops downwards to fill the bottom then flow . As water stands for govt. revenue ,and the bottom represents expenditure on necessaries , then flow to other human wants.
One of standard of living criteria is the value of govt. services on quality and price grounds - a maladjustment in maximum social advantage - the equilibrium point of revenue and taxation- may lead to one party sufferings either the government - a deficit budget recurrence- or citizen upset leads to trade union strikes (many European countries ), social riots (France) or upheavals (French history) .
due to the entire political system , the rule governing is politics serve capital, therefore , the - sacred - task of the U . S . politicians is to serve the capital welfare . Hence . all U . S . external wars are to maintain capital ends through securing natural resources( oil & gas) and markets . Conclusion : In despite of the U . S.(GNP) , American citizens suffer due to differences in governmental priorities . As Scandinavian governments devote revenue to uplift citizens' welfare through expenditure on direct services . On the other hand , a potential percentage of the U . S . general budget serving armament , security and related services . it is the same - mirror photo shot - plunders of the ex- socialist regimes who served a one eyed goal depend on military and security rather than citizen welfare .
I wish a new criteria of the standard of living that depends on (the mass -not the whole) family budget . On other terms , in agricultural economies standard of living may determined through the ratio of the aggregate family budget of peasants and farmers .
THE ULTIMA RATIO : Increase in The U . S . standard of living met with the increase in the rate of poverty simultaneously !!!!!
I wish Rebecca McMillan has got some satisfaction .
I find it interesting how difficult it is for some people in the US to even think of systems not based on their current one. If its not knee jerk emotivism then it's misunderstanding. Does America have that thing the pope does? You know, when it can't admit it's wrong?
+Stephen King More of the propaganda your country is becoming famous for. Canadian's don't go to the states for treatment, unless it's something we don't have (which is extremely rare, and getting rarer as we make more medical breakthroughs), but we still pay the US to use it. My hospital just paid to fly in three children from Colorado for treatment. they couldn't afford it in the US. We then paid to send them back home.
+Cory Lewis I have been to 7 different countries in my life 2 of which were for humanitarian purposes. I have seen the best and worst of these countries and I am well aware of the chaos outside of our boarders.
What is sad is how you fail to grasp simple economics. You have high taxes (you state that right away), and yet you later claim to go to school for free. No, you do not go to school for free, you are simply subsidized via taxes. This is a simple deferred cost, it is no different than me taking a government backed student loan.

No offense, but not everybody wants to be subservient to their government. I personally want my government to do less, it is to intrusive in my life as it is. To suggest that the Nordic model is what everyone should move towards is horribly naive and to further suggest that you are the 99% is insulting.
+Cory Lewis you putting words in my mouth buddy? I'm said I'm aware of the chaos outside of our boarders. And yes Finland is very socialist... many countries including our own is leaning more and more towards socialism.
Well, the USA does have a massive military-industrial complex to maintain. How else could we manage such a vast worldwide empire and ward off imagined enemies?
The way you keep using that word, I don't think it means what you think it means.
+Rob Damitz Yes thats good one... I have one older Nokia phone thats so hard to break I gave it to my 16 yeared son. Ok now. I havent been to Alaska but Finland is like Alaska. This is odd place. Even I was born here. I live in Helsinki, Finland. Finnish are soo serious. Cold and and dark and boring. Suicides and alcohol. Two moths with no sun. Now: good points: Education. My parents were teachers. I never get through high school. Back to: "This is odd place". Most answers our system gives out as good practises would not possibly work in a culture like US. Culture cannot be copied from top to bottom. by administrations or ministrys. But cultures and ideas DO get copied. By persons, not institutions... No. We do not have answers. Except maybe for questions we did ask ourselves...
I like Finns. You visit my blogs a lot. Thanks! And thank you for reason. It's a big world and we each have a voice. Thank you for using yours.
+Cory Lewis
You're an idiot. I'm not going to waste anymore time on you. Do yourself a favor, don't waste your time, and don't respond to this
America would beat you in a fight.
"a sign of solely relying on MSM" Not sure what planet you're from, buddy, but here on Earth the MSM pushes Socialism and attacks Capitalism relentlessly. I know it's fashionable among today's youth to talk about Socialism in glowing terms, but can you name me another system of government that's responsible for the systematic, industrial-scale slaughter of over 100 million people? Stalin? Butchered 20 million Russians while claiming to be the People's leader. Mao? Outdid him by leaps and bounds, murdering 60 million of his fellow Chinese in what was laughably termed the "Cultural Revolution." Before that, the French Revolution intentionally massacred almost a million innocent people via the National Razor before that blade was turned upon the Revolutionaries themselves. Cuba, Central America, South America and many African nations that turned to various forms of Socialism slaughtered untold millions of innocent citizens. And if you throw in the deaths from all the wars fought to defeat Socialistic systems like Nazism, Communism and so forth, you've got death and destruction on a totally unprecedented scale. If anyone's retarded, it's the fools who refuse to learn from history.
+Nathan Buth: It's only unfair if you're assuming that government is inherently unable to scale up well. This may have been a good approximation a few centuries ago, perhaps even in late 19th century, but great breakthroughs have since been made in the art of bureaucracy. I do not think that it's unfair to compare Finnish and US government in this way in the 21st century. Most of the governing problems US have are due to poor design of the governmental structures rather than the country's size.

And if you don't believe me, you could consider Germany instead of Finland. The situation is slightly different, but Germany is closer to Finland in terms of how it's governed and what the outcomes are, and closer to US in terms of population count and land area.
+George Hayes: in effect, you're saying "we don't need a government if we could create another government". This seems quite a bit like hating government out of principle rather than reason, or possibly hating government that doesn't conform exactly to your vision of perfectness.
+Andres Soolo You are absolutely correct and thank you for correcting me on it. I guess I should have said it is not quite as simple as changing our government to be the same because it wouldn't quite work right. Even if the people were ok with it I think there would still need to be massive changes made to it in order to work for a country the size of the U.S. and that has the global power that the U.S. has. This is a better way of stating what I should have said but still you are right. :)
+Stephen King: You're missing the point, in that the difference between US and Finnish education system is not a single-factor one.

In USA, people pay a lot of money for their degrees, therefore they consider it an investment, and therefore it matters that it be a good one. If you pick a degree in which you won't be working, it may not have been a very good investment.

In Finland, people don't have massive debts after having degrees, therefore it doesn't matter to the student in question that he might have chosen a "wrong" degree. This has multiple interesting interrelating results. On one hand, people are less likely to go for whatever is hot now but may be hopelessly out-of-date as employment goes in a few decades. Instead, people tend to study topics they find most interesting in. This, in turn, means people will take advanced courses in things they're actually good at rather than things they hope would give them rare and well-selling skills. On the other hand, people are less likely to focus on a single area of study and more likely to get courses in multiple different topics, which leads to educated people having a broader set of knowledge. (The ostensibly shallower depth is, in my opinion, well balanced by people tending to drill deep in subjects they are best at.)

In summary, under the Finnish system, unlike the US system, it is not a massive tragedy to have taken a "wrong" degree. The country will still have a well-educated person who is good at what he knows, is happy out of the experience, pays reasonable taxes, is likely to stay out of troubles correlating with low education level, and is likely to take care of his children's education, as well. All these benefits, of course, exist in the US system but they're relegated far behind the "degree as an investment" idea.
+Nathan Buth: Yes, there isn't a magic bullet.

Just a random thought — perhaps, in the US political system, a good bureaucracy can develop under the aegis of the judicial branch, so instead of the executive specialists widely used in European governments, there would be magistrates specialising in, say, motor vehicles (having examined the physical evidence pertaining to the above-mentioned vehicle, we find it not road-worthy) or routing mail (in the case of John Doe who dropped a letter into a mailbox on the Elm Street v. the post office, we find that the mailsuit has an appropriate amount of fee-stamps affixed to it, and hereby order that post office appoint an agent to transport this letter to the Conifer Lane post distribution centre to be further delivered as addressed)? If the US population is suspicious of government experts making decisions, then many of the decisions ordinarily made by administrators with expertise in a particular subject could instead be made by people who are nominally judges with expertise in the subject.

The interrelation of an administrative bureaucracy as mostly judicial rather than executive and a precedent-based legal system might be quite interesting.
+Michael Snow: there is nothing inherent that would make labour unions frown upon school running on weekends, as long as it is done properly — you hire more teachers so every teacher can have an appropriate number of rest days.

Whether it's a good idea to work pupils without rest days is a different matter, though. I would tend to think that it probably isn't.
+Nicholas Smerk: the standard deviation is a good indicator for some 'cloudy' datasets, but it tends to behave in counterintuitive ways when the mood and the average are not close to each other. In economies with high inequality, this tends to be the case, so average + standard deviation provide a picture that is not very useful and can easily mislead.
+Niki Couto: I would point that one of the way capitalism pumps healthcare costs up in the US is that doctors have massive student loans after graduation, and have to charge high costs so that they could repay these debts. In a system where everybody capable of graduation can go through university for free, this is not a factor, which reduces medical costs. Of course, in a country who has both free higher education and single payer healthcare system, the question of whether costs of educating doctors should be covered by the Ministry of Education or the Ministry of Medicine is largely an accounting question.
+Bryan Kesler: The right to fail at business and not have to worry about it is one of the cornerstones of modern capitalism. It's called a 'limited liability corporation'.
+Billy Duncan: Finland has a policy of neutrality. As long as it is not in danger, the Finnish army is very unlikely to intervene in other countries' invasions — even though it is very, very good at what it does.

Whether maintaining neutrality is a good idea is, of course, a matter of debate, but considering what little help Finland got the last time it was invaded, it's probably understandable.
+Michael Brunel: This is a very interesting argument.

From macroeconomic perspective, the difference of having the students pay for their education in a deferred manner, or the government paying for education out of the general budget, is, indeed, relatively small. This is because at a government level, we're talking about a massive statistical aggregate, with risks averaged out.

From microeconomic perspective, however, a student who will have to pay for education no matter whether he'll have the means is in a quite different position than a student who knows that he can take whatever courses he wants, and will only have to pay higher taxes once he will actually earn high income. You could imagine this as the financial service of insurance against not being able to earn a lot of money after graduation.

This service turns out to be quite important, and its effects trickle up all the way to the macroeconomical scale.
The culture in Finland is vastly different. Anyone would love to live in a culture that can trust the rest of society. But, add a large percent of the lazy settling for free benefits rather than work the rest of their lives and a large percent of the corrupt steering tax monies into their own pockets (sometimes in the billions) and the whole system will implode.

On the other hand If we can some how fix our system with the proper checks and balances of our tax dollars, it can accommodate basic services like higher education and health care for everyone, and would allow a much larger portion of the population to focus on wealth creating growth and innovation instead of their basic needs.
Canada is as lazy as a nation as America and we do great with universal health care.
I disagree, +Mike Keller , and reason being is due to how slow it is to get emergency care in Canada and lack of quality care. There are large amounts of Canadians that come to America for health care, paying out of their own pockets, for faster and better care.

Of course the reasons are more complicated than that but I just kind of summarized... your Canadian health care is not up to par.
The Ontario health care system does have some flaws, but it still is ranked better than the American health care system.
Ranked better? No sir. No where in the western hemisphere is there bettered health care. And I am referring to quality. Not availability.
+Chad Pratt: Do you mean, you do your ranking by the single best doctor or hospital in a country and ignore the rest?
I like a majority of what you stated. I think it would be nice if Americans didn't have to fear for retirement, or the same if they become unemployed. People talk a lot about success, but the reality is, many more people fail than succeed; you simply don't hear about the failures as much. 
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