Seize the Moment: Financial Crisis and the Making of the Finnish Competition State

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In this paper we examine how Finnish Governments dismantled the Nordic
welfare state paradigm from the 1990s onwards and adopted Schumpeterian
ideas of a competitive workfare state. In the early 1990s, Finland went through
a financial crisis that was the most severe in OECD countries since the Second
World War and came to play a major role in the paradigm change. In the crisis,
the Ministry of Finance gained a central role as a consensus-building power
broker, and formulated a political strategy of national competitiveness, which
was adopted as a rationale of power for consensual governments and has been
maintained since. We suggest that financial crises can become formative
moments in which new ideas are adopted and policies are reformulated. They
can also become moments which provide opportunity to overcome citizen
opinion. In Finland, the wide popular and party support for the Nordic welfare
model was not reflected in the new paradigm.
Original languageEnglish
JournalNew Political Economy
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)811-826
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2013
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5142 Social policy

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