Tag Archive: Finland

Fake news

Staying with Finland, one of the things that inspired the previous post was the news that Finland is planning to move to a four day, six hour work week.

If you follow the news in some way or form, you’ll have probably seen i. This article has been published in major media outlets such as The Guardian and The Independent, not to mention places like Stuff.

The thing is that this story is false. It’s not part of Finnish policy, and the Finnish government has said that there are no plans for such a work week.

How did this story come into existence?

I’ll state the tldr version, but for a full explanation by a proper Finnish outlet, read the article I linked above.

Back in August 2019, would be PM Sanna Marin suggested that a four day six hour work week could raise productivity, but also stated that this was not government policy.

Fast forward to January 2020, and Marin is now PM of Finland. An Austrian and then a Belgian news outlet pick up on the story, and they frame it as if it’s a) government policy, and b) a new initiative that’s only come about since Marin became PM.

Domino effect, and now the whole world thinks that Finland is going to switch to a four day six hour work week.

While there aren’t really any adverse effects from the spread of this story, it’s still scary – if fake news like this can spread so quickly, what would happen if a more sinister story spread like this one?

Finland rocks!

Finland is just the most amazing country, and I felt the need to do a post about why they are so damned cool.

They have the second youngest leader in the world – Sanna Marin, who’s also the world’s youngest female leader.

All five of the parties that make up their government are lead by women – so yay, diversity points!

Well, maybe not exactly diversity points, but you get the idea. Good progress regardless.

Finally, they’re also the only nation in Europe that has their homeless rate going down – all thanks to their new approach to tackling homelessness.

The policy applied in Finland is called “HousingFirst”. It reverses conventional homeless aid. More commonly, those affected are expected to look for a job and free themselves from their psychological problems or addictions. Only then they get help in finding accommodation.

“Housing First”, on the other hand, reverses the path: Homeless people get a flat – without any preconditions. Social workers help them with applications for social benefits and are available for counselling in general. In such a new, secure situation, it is easier for those affected to find a job and take care of their physical and mental health.

When you think about it, it seems obvious. Of course getting a job and freeing yourself from your addictions is going to be easier when you don’t have to worry about where you’ll be sleeping each night.

Four out of five homeless Finns will find themselves on the path to a better life thanks to HousingFirst.

The killer is that long term, it’s cheaper than leaving people on the streets thanks to the costs that come with homelessness existing:

When people are in emergency situations, emergencies are more frequent: Assaults, injuries, breakdowns. The police, health care and justice systems are more often called upon to step in – and this also costs money.

Finland saves 15000 euros a year for every homeless person on the street thanks to HousingFirst.

Finland, you rock. I hope NZ can follow your lead.