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Riding out economic turbulence

The success of Finland’s continued competitiveness is the result in large measure of the surprisingly strong underlying national consensus that has emerged between different sectors of society and the economy. This consensus will be important in helping the country ride out the type of economic turbulence the world is now experiencing.

Finland’s continued success as one of the world’s most competitive countries has called for a lot of hard work and extensive, broadbased cooperation among many stakeholders over the years.

Surviving the major national and internationaldownturn of the early 1990s saw the emergence of a new type of national consensus, bringing together employers, employees, and government. Working together in this way, a number of collective bargaining agreements have been launched that have helped provide an important underlying stability for the economy and promote employment.

These agreements have made it easier for companies to make longer-term plans for developing their businesses, and given them a better and more secure basis for their marketing efforts in the global marketplace. They have also shown their value recently as the world, Finland included, comes to grips with the latest economic recession.

The Finnish model

This ‘Finnish model’ has drawn its strength from a common sense of purpose, and a common commitment to developing productivity and competitiveness.

In the metal industry, for example, we are working together on the Trio Programme, aimed at developing a system of clusters, linking together contractors, system suppliers, and sub-contractors – to make product development, productivity, and production systems more competitive.

We are also working together to ensure that people’s skills and expertise are kept up-to-date, extended, and expanded – to guarantee that we have the human resources we need.

Trust and mutual respect represent an important cornerstone of the Finnish model; and have enabled us to create flexible framework labour agreements that take account of local conditions and needs in different parts of the country and the economy, benefiting both employers and employees.

A solid platf orm for investment

The Finnish model is also good for those wanting to invest in Finland, as it gives them a solid platform for long-term industrial and business development.

With all the key players in society and the economy working together, we are well-placed to ensure that Finland can continue to invest in product and technological development and will continue to offer the type of infrastructure and logistics systems needed in today’s world.

> Riku Aalto
(Published in HighTech Finland 2009)