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Finland leads the happiness ranking of the happiest country in the world

02. 04. 2023 Sunday / By: Robert Denes / Generic / Exact time: BST / Print this page

A ccording to the World Happiness Report 2023, Finland is officially the happiest country in the world, followed by Denmark and Iceland. A nation of more than 5.5 million inhabitants that cannot be understood without the multinational commitment to internationalization, innovation, education and revolutionizing everything - Nokia. Then an intrusion to discover what the economy of the happiest country in the world is like, with the honest eyes of the Catalans who lived there, the Finns, experts in the field and Catalonia.

What is the secret of Finnish happiness? In general, we have nothing to envy a country with a population similar to ours, with two official languages and a climate that turns into the country where it is always night in winter.

However, according to Markku Lehtonen, a Finnish researcher at UPF's Department of Humanities, who has lived in Catalonia for more than four years, he highlights "pragmatism and nature" as distinguishing elements.

Finland has historically been part of Sweden for over 500 years and as a result more than 10% of Finns can speak Swedish. However, in 1809, Russia conquered Finland from the Swedes and integrated their empire until 1917, when it managed to become independent, despite remaining under the influence of the Soviet Union, which ended with its collapse in 1991.

According to Lehtonen, "Finland suffered an economic recession similar to Spain in 2008, as 25% of exports went to Russia". the state budget," says Joaquim Boixareu, CEO of Irestal Group and member of Femcat.

Now there is always an answer to every crisis. And in the early 90s, the Finnish government identified three areas to focus on, such as internationalization, innovation and education. And surprisingly, “they invested 25% more in all areas,” details Boixareu.

One of the great achievements was the public-private cooperation led by two key people: the then prime minister of Finland, Esko Aho, and the then president of Nokia, Jorma Ollila., which had a conglomerate that produced steel cables, Soviet-standard consumer electronics products and, due to its economy, industrially and became an important tractor in terms of stock market value. It was a world leader in mobile telephony. And not insignificant data in early 2000, more than 60% of Finnish private sector innovation research came from the technology giant and accounted for 3.5% of GDP.

From then on, the entire research and innovation environment developed by Nokia remained in the country over the years. Or expanded by merging three universities focused on economics, business, design and technology to form Aalto University, with €500 million in private funding to replace the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Former Nokia employees, who prefer not to be identified, explain that Finland's prosperity has something to do with the Nordic social democracy and "the small difference between the income levels of the population" and a rather similar way of thinking that led to it. to the small differences between the agendas of the traditional parties, with the exception of the new far-right parties. Another interesting element is related to the low level of corruption in the country and the public's trust in institutions. In fact, former Prime Minister Matti Vanhanen suffered a major corruption scandal when the press reported that hey construction company gave him 1,000 euros worth of wood. The absence of elite classes and the transparency of public office salaries are also interesting. Also, as an interesting fact, the amount of the fines may vary depending on the individual purchasing power. Much of their wealth comes from the high taxes they pay to fund public services, education, health, infrastructure and social safety nets. Something that defines a high quality of life and that citizens see as "returning to society". The emphasis on reconciling work and family life, flexible working hours (many end the working day at 4pm), extensive vacations and firm parental leave rules cannot be ignored either.

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