Finland’s Brain Drain: When Talent Leaves a Small Country

View of Helsinki, Finland from the sea, May 13, 2010
View of Helsinki, Finland from the sea, May 13, 2010 (Aaronigma)

Young Finnish professionals are attracted to major European capitals. They move to Stockholm, Berlin and Amsterdam, as well as farther away. The sun shines in Dubai; the world’s top organizations and institutes are in New York and Washington. The occupations of these migrants are manifold: bankers, graphic designers, computer engineers, photographers and researchers, to name only a few.

They leave Finland because of poor employment opportunities and future prospects. This has been happening for a long time. Finns were moving to North America 100 years ago and to Sweden after World War II — in both cases because growing economies needed factory workers.

The difference with today’s migrants is they are better educated (PDF) and leaving a welfare state that ranks as one of the best places to live in the world according to most indices. The likelihood of them returning has nevertheless fallen sharply. Why? Read more

Coal and Steel? Donald Trump Is Living in the Past

American president Donald Trump speaks on the phone during a flight on Air Force One to Pennsylvania, January 26
American president Donald Trump speaks on the phone during a flight on Air Force One to Pennsylvania, January 26 (White House/Shealah Craighead)

Donald Trump isn’t big on technology.

“I think the computers have complicated lives very greatly,” he said last year. (The computers.)

The whole, you know, age of computer has made it where nobody knows exactly what’s going on.

By “nobody”, he means himself.

On another occasion, the president said, “I’m just not a believer in email.”

By contrast, Trump has spoken at length about American coal and steel and his desire to revive the two industries.

This doesn’t make economic sense. Read more

Europe, Japan Send “Strong Signal” with Trade Deal

Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe, European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker pose for photos in Brussels, March 21, 2017
Japanese prime minister Shinzō Abe, European Council president Donald Tusk and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker pose for photos in Brussels, March 21, 2017 (European Commission)

European and Japanese leaders have announced a landmark trade agreement on the eve of the G20 summit in Hamburg, Germany, where America’s president, Donald Trump, is expected to press his case for protectionism.

The treaty has yet to be finalized. A summit in Brussels was hastily arranged to “send a strong signal,” as the EU’s trade commissioner, Cecilia Malmström, put it earlier this week.

“We believe we should not build walls or raise protectionism,” she said. Read more

Merkel’s Plan Strong on Taxes and Spending, Disappointing on Migration

Bavarian prime minister Horst Seehofer speaks with German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, September 28, 2015
Bavarian prime minister Horst Seehofer speaks with German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, September 28, 2015 (Bundesregierung)

German chancellor Angela Merkel’s party promises long-overdue investments in its election manifesto, but a plan for attracting high-skilled migrants is unconvincing.

The Christian Democrats, who are projected to win the most votes in September’s election, pledge to sustain recent increases in spending on digitalization and infrastructure and raise spending on research and development from 3 to 3.5 percent of the economy.

German public investment has languished for years as the Christian Democrats prioritized deficit reduction. The Dutch and Swedes invest twice as much in everything from electricity grids to roads. Read more

In Era of Trump, Europeans Become Free Traders

French president Emmanuel Macron is greeted by German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, May 15
French president Emmanuel Macron is greeted by German chancellor Angela Merkel in Berlin, May 15 (Bundesregierung)

European leaders are preparing for a showdown on trade when they meet Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Hamburg next month.

“Whoever believes that the world’s problems can be solved by isolationism and protectionism is mistaken,” Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, told her parliament on Thursday.

French president Emmanuel Macron chimed in: “If free trade is questioned by a member state then we need to address this.” Read more

Macron Makes Start with Labor Reform in France

Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen is greeted by French president Emmanuel Macron outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, June 9
Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen is greeted by French president Emmanuel Macron outside the Elysée Palace in Paris, June 9 (Facebook)

French president Emmanuel Macron has unveiled his first labor reforms:

  • Capping the damages judges can award to employees who have been wrongfully terminated.
  • Merging workers’ councils in companies.
  • Enabling employers to go around workers’ councils — which are often dominated by trade unions — and call company-wide referendums on sensitive topics, like overtime.
  • Allowing multinationals to lay off workers at loss-making French subsidiaries even if the foreign-based parent company is profitable.

“The idea is to loosen the rules while also ensuring safeguards for employees,” Muriel Pénicaud, the labor minister, said. Read more

Can Canada Resist Trump’s Offensive on NAFTA?

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada answers questions from reporters in Ottawa, October 20, 2015
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of Canada answers questions from reporters in Ottawa, October 20, 2015 (Flickr/Justin Trudeau)

NAFTA stands for the North American Free Trade Act, but President Donald Trump does not.

After campaigning on a promise to repeal the act, then adapting his position to that of merely supporting the act’s renegotiation, Trump recently announced that he would no longer tolerate the status quo arrangement for American imports of dairy and forestry products originating from Canada. Read more