Flashy stuff allowed

Slums and ghettos are SO interesting. Social scientists and politicians have been trying to get to grips with the urban underbelly for decades, believing they’ll be able to fix social ills if they understand how the bottom of the heap works. Street Corner Society and all that. Not in Helsinki of course, hardly a slum around, not since independence anyway.

When I were a lass, there wasn’t much in the way of flashy stuff or super-rich people either. How different things are today. There are more (fancy) cars in central Helsinki than the whole of Uusimaa really needs, an inexplicable (if aesthetically rather pleasing) array of expensive clothes shops, design boutiques and jewellers. A new class of very rich people are leaving their mark and making their mark.

Finnish-readers, I recommend our friend Arkkivahti who, in a post on the Planning Department’s showcase event from a week ago, captures the spirit of the times in an unremarkable and still hair-raising account of  idle chatter in Stockmann’s food-hall where rich Helsinki finds what it needs for the larder. She offers proof, if proof were needed, that there are plenty of voters for whom social justice or Helsinki’s obscenely expensive real estate is less of a worry than the availability of a 1961 Chateau Petrus or, apparently, a decent cosmetic surgeon.

Little wonder that for the first time ever Kokoomus are looking so confident. They are, after all, the party for people who really like riches and who prefer not to think about the rest (social justice and sexual equality having been established long ago in Finland, as PPusa points out). Anyway, most of the building going on now (underground car-parks, tunnels for this, that, and the other, waterfront quarters) and quite a bit of the planning and real-estate management (luxury shopping where once were useful stores) already suits the richest voters best.

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