Embarrassment of riches

The Finnish rich (according to Taloussanomat) are poor. Everything is, obviously, relative. But even staid old YLE tells us that there’s something of geographical interest in the rich. In Finland most of them live in Uusimaa. So tells us Taloussanomat, again. Interesting how the rich are so interested in other rich people’s riches.

Apparently Helsinki city council would like many more of these people to live in Helsinki itself – a reason often given for why the council, despite its lefty-greeny looks (even among the right-wingers) keeps making decisions that bolster the good life as understood by those for whom urban-policy-words like vibrant and regenerated have not even a whiff of self-delusion, and who are oblivious to the fact that what they consider normal is actually excessively expensive – not just in money but in space, resources, other people’s energies…

What I mean is that the good life as understood in this sense takes up masses of space and uses more electricty and fuel than the rich of yester-year could ever have imagined.

So a family of five who bought a flat in Eira in 1965 felt almost (not quite though) embarrassed to inhabit their 100 square metres of living space (plus two balconies, storage in the basement, shared sauna and adjacent indoor parking space with automatic door). A generation later, a family of four moved down the road (in 2005) into Eiranranta, knocked down some walls to create about 270 sqare metres, and also got space for their three cars and (you have to know this is hearsay, but still) state-of-the-art security gadgetry and more power sockets for lifestyle gadgets than can possibly be good for social skills.

But when the media reports on the drift into the rich and the poor, it only ever seems to concentrateon the poor, and how they depend on the public purse! I so wish that way of reporting would stop. Because in actual fact, the rich are also exploiting the free stuff (including the hospitals in Meilahti, like the maternity clinic, above). Much better in fact than the poor, but nobody complains about their drain on the resources. For example, Finnish health care isn’t cheap (though on the basis of your blogger’s unfortunate recent personal experience, it does look great and is staffed by remarkably cheerful people) but it is cheaper than private insurance. And that IS being brought up by more and more Finns.

Note on the weather – it be chilly out there. Hey ho, what does a woman with only one functioning leg do in such a situation? Enjoys Espoo in the best possible way – looking out at the snow-covered garden from a remarkably comfortable – and not at all small – house where she is being extremely well taken care of.


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