Jorma Sipilä - Sauna

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Professor Jorma Sipilä´s comment on Ryszard Szulkin´s speech at Demos Helsinki´s and e2´s future course on immigration 27.8.2009 in Kirkkonummi, Finland.

Professor Jorma Sipilä´s comment on Ryszard Szulkin´s speech at Demos Helsinki´s and e2´s future course on immigration 27.8.2009 in Kirkkonummi, Finland.

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  • 1. Comments on Professor Szulkin’s presentation Jorma Sipilä Sauna, Aavaranta, August 27, 2009
  • 2. Percentage immigrants in different countries
  • 3. Public assumptions concerning the share of immigrants
    • High rate of immigration means
      • economic problems?
      • growing economic inequality?
      • groth of social problems?
    • Looking at the list may lead to other thoughts…
    • Is it so that the social problems among the immigrants are only related to the grade of discrimination and injustice towards them?
  • 4. Labour-related immigration
    • Popular expression among Finnish civil servants and politicians when they dare to present themselves as immigrant-friendly
      • ’ Työmarkkinajärjestöjen yhteinen kanta: Työperäinen maahanmuutto täydentämään suomalaista työvoimaa’
    • Sorry, but human beings are not workforce
    • The ability to work is a human capacity that cannot be separated from a human being’s life as a totality
  • 5. Gastarbeiter
    • If we want to have immigrants we have to recognize them as persons, not as ’Gastarbeiter’
      • Nokia may have some guest workers, some Estonians want to be guest workers only, but they are exceptions
    • If we want trouble, we can try to take the ’raisins out of the bun’
      • There are good examples in Europe of bad policies
    • If we don’t want trouble we should provide the necessary skills and resources for every immigrant
      • Immigrants need their communities but isolated enclaves only create tension in the long run
  • 6. Observations on Szulkin’s data
    • Nordic countries are the only ones with a decreasing immigration to Sweden
    • The proportion of families with both parents born abroad increases fast
      • the analyses do not reveal increasing 2nd generation problems (compared to the 1st)?
      • how are these ’classic’ problems today?
    • When making your conclusions
      • have you controlled for differences in the number of children?
      • Is the proportion of university degrees a valid measure of the level of education?
        • can the differences in the proportion of university degrees be directly compared with general differences in employment and earnings?
  • 7. Diversity
    • Social inequality and diversity are common and permanent reasons for tensions in society
      • especially when they coincide
    • It is difficult to envisage that diversity would not increase in all societies
      • we’ve created a world system
    • Human problems we already know, especially the climate change, seem to require both international equalization of resources and less restrictions on immigration
      • less equalization = more immigration
  • 8. Diversity 2
    • Nordic universalism may but need not contradict with the increasing variety of needs
    • Education and communication relieve social tensions caused by the diversity
    • Feeling threatened increases tensions
      • uneducated men
      • politics that increase insecurity
  • 9. Finland: isolated nationalism
    • Finnish nationalism was created in the 19th century and supported by Russians to separate culturally Finland from Sweden
    • Linguistic isolation, silent people
    • Rather isolated nation state since 1917
      • the special relationship with Germany ended in 1945
      • national homogeneity as a Winter-War achievement, ending the tragedy of the class society
      • weak experience of multicultural life
      • traditional and agrarian dimensions of Finnishness
  • 10. Small experience of immigrants
    • Lack of possible immigrants for half a century after 1918 in Finland
    • High emigration does not help with facing immigration
      • Finland as the source of emigration, not attractive
      • a few refugees since the 1970s
        • Chile, Vietnam, Somalia…
      • the end of socialist states since the early 1990s
        • Estonia, Russia, Ingria
      • experts for Nokia, people from Middle East and Asia doing small business
    • ’ Finns are not racists like Americans’
  • 11. Collective egoism
    • International co-operation is OK if it helps us!
    • In Finland a long tradition of seeking consensus and not talking about contradictory issues
      • weak interest in values and human considerations
        • Protestant coolness toward charity
        • Finns care for other people but helping is based on friendship and family responsibilities
  • 12. Intercultural skills and interaction
    • Pragmatic problem solving instead of ’talks that lead nowhere’
      • the promised country of engineers
    • Not easy to understand what other kind of people think and how they feel
      • not the promised country of international marketing
    • Weak interest to know of suffering among others
      • We’re not responsible! It’s not our fault…don’t want to know…we’ve trouble of our own
    • Strong familism: risk of leaving immigrants alone
  • 13. Positive attitudes increasing
    • Employers
      • cheap labour force
    • Politicians
      • experts welcome, a response to the labour shortage
    • Urban middle class
      • cheap and individualized personal services
    • More ideologically:
      • Swedish-speaking population
        • more urban-minded, multicultural tolerance
      • religious activists
      • students
        • but heads of two student unions joining the list: ’Let’s help Somalians back home’
  • 14. Toward immigration-friendly Finland
    • The government should acknowledge that immigration is a permanent phenomenon and that it cannot be expected to decrease
      • prevailing view on ageing society in the population forecasts and long-term budgeting
    • … and make a distinction between universal and contributory benefits
      • universal benefits should be seen as basic social rights and as not as something to be earned by living in the country
    • … and to define its expectations on cultural issues
    • Positive premises
      • good and long education
      • women’s influence in politics
      • the gap between generations
      • when people understand that there are good reasons for thinking and doing otherwise, they don’t continue talking but do it!
  • 15. Heavy inertia? All colours, happily together? Jurmo Island