Consumerism - Household debt and embracing minimalism

Finland was part of the Russian Empire until 1917, when it became independent, Russia subsequently fought it’s own civil war where the communists won, who then went on to establish the USSR. For centuries, if not a millennia, most of the times when 25-50% of the population has been killed or the country burned to the ground it has been by our eastern neighbor. Though there has also been times of good relations and active trade.
Who is the most important Finn, well in the recent history I would probably say Mannerheim, because he lead the armies through our recent wars from 1917-1945, and we got out of them still alive.

Yes, I would say so, there is basically a sauna in every residential building or home and Sibellius FInlandia is something everyone has at minimum heard.

Virtually no, I say ‘virtually’ because there are homeless people, Finland has~4600 “Apartment-less” people with half in Helsinki, the capital. Many of these are people who despite government welfare has such big alcohol or drug problems that they will resell or use the funds given by the government to buy alcohol or similar. But there are some, though few, who are unable to find a affordable apartment, especially in Helsinki where rent prices is double that of other cities. 2/3 of those homeless are people temporarily without a apartment and living with friends or relatives. 740 of them lived “on the streets”. 1096 where immigrants. All this with a population of about 5.5 million people.

“In Finland the municipalities are required by law to offer apartments or shelters to every Finnish citizen who does not have a residence.”

For more stats se: (in Finnish)

From elementary to university, you get maybe 550€-ish/month from the govt for studying and there is no tuition. Kindergarten are not free, though there has been talks about making it so, though currently no, it can cost 200-500€/month to my knowledge, but could be off or old info. There are however some municipalities that have subsidized kindergartens so their cheaper, though there is not enough of these

The income tax is progressive and generally there is not a big difference compared to America, I might even pay slightly less income tax here that what I would in the US. Though, most products are taxed a lot more than in other countries and thus our tax rates in comparisons are higher. Products are often more expensive in Finland than the same product in say Germany. Retirement is something I know very little about, there is a guarantee minimum pension of maybe 800€/month that everyone that has a real work pension below this, but for anyone that has worked their entire life, they get a lot higher pensions.

Honestly I don’t really understand this question, I am a finn and I like it. Other finns tend to leave me alone when I’m out and about, I like it. :smiley:

Interesting and same. I’ve heard a lot of stuff from France from friends that lived there that your bureaucracy is a mess and clogs up the welfare system :stuck_out_tongue:. From what I hear your healthcare is better than ours.

I think curiosity is good and consuming in itself isn’t bad. It’s just like with some ppl that take debt to buy 1000 new books etc. :smiley:

“for a few centuries” :smiley: something like 600 years… of being a buffer zone, yayy! :smiley:


It’s very interesting.

I read his biography on the internet, he was a marschal decorated for the Winter war and his exploits during both WW! He also got the French Legion of Honor, the highest award in my country. That’s crazy.

People did so many exploits when we read past bio. How would they find our period?

Why sauna?
Sibelius was an unknown musician until I searched about him.

These stats are quite impressive.

What are the main traits according to you?

I don’t know if the healthcare is better (the service). Our welfare expenses are about the same from the stat I saw: about 30% of our GDP. Social contributions are a little higher in France though. About 1/4 of our wages are automatically deducted for social contributions.
The trend is reducing the social budget for the State, so more services are paid from our pocket.
All French people benefit from the social protection provided by the State. People can opt for private insurances to have more protection (for ex a range of medical operations), in addition to the public social protection basis like in Finland.

Our bureaucracy, I think you mean public companies.
Our working system is specific to our country because it is a result of our History and class struggles:

  • +++ labour unions.
  • +++ Labour Law, + protective laws towards employees
  • Right to go on strike so people go on strike more often than around (Preamble of our Constitution), more in the public sector than in the private sector. Normally they are not paid when they go on srike according to the law (normally :wink:). But the right to go on strike is regulated, like you can’t go on strike just like that, there are conditions.

The weight of our labor unions can’t be neglected, because they gather people working in the same branch all throughout the country, it can paralyze important sectors, including public sectors and private sectors for ex for transport strike. They go in the street or block roads.

What can happen is: a new law is amended, then associations or labour unions can bring it to the Constitutional Council to study if it’s in agreement with the State Constitution. If it’s not, the law has to be modified.

It’s often a confrontation between employees labor unions vs. employers labor unions or the State.
A by-product of capitalism or class struggles?

Back to the bureaucracy: administrations are old and laws specific to public sectors give some advantages from around post WWII. Hence strikes if the state wants to reduce these advantages inherited from the last century though these sectors or the country or the situation which was the reconstruction of the state post WWII evolved since that time.

There is more protection when it’s about laying off a public official (it is possible, but rare), so results or efficiency for someone who has a job probably guaranteed for life or wages could explain this and that.
The working conditions too can also explain why organization needs improvement, for ex the budget allocated is not enough, reduced, instead of having 1 nurse for 10 patients, they have 1 nurse for 20 patients, exhaustion, lack of recognition, can’t work in correct conditions. Can’t recruit more or wages are more attractive in the private sector. It would affect the organization.

I’ve bought many books I’ve not read yet… no not 1000 books, but I still buy more. No, I won’t consider myself a minimalist, because if I were to only keep what is necessary in my room, it would be a bed, a table, a chair, a computer, light and clothes, a notebook, post it, a pen with 4 colors and a pencil. My walls would be without decoration.
Just simple yeah. I would sell all the paper books.
It would be the min comfort whereas I “need” more comfort so it won’t affect my well being. This is my view if I were to think how I would turn minimalist.

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He even has a street in Helsinki named after him. And a statue, of course.



When I was a kid and first saw the statue I was very disappointed, I had imagined it be 5x bigger, based on everything I hear, read. saw images of etc.
At the end of the day it came down to Mannerheim or Lalli, since killing bishops ain’t so cool anymore, Mannerheim became the logical chose

I wonder who would be similar in France, Charles de Gaulle?

It used to have a spiritual/religious meaning, which is still reflected in the Finnish language, but the religiousness has faded away. So today when throwing water onto the stones in Sauna, ppl say “heitä löyly” which means “throw löyly”, which itself might be a short form of an older phrase, anyhow, Löyly was the sauna spirit in Finnish paganism, but people don’t generally know this, even when they say it’s name casually in Sauna. Little things like that, that show how significant sauna must have been to ancient finns and also explain why sauna has survived and still is strong.

I think we have a similar trend and we have to see where the future brings us

I meant “paper war”, over here, everything has to be documented, if I need unemployement benefits I need to fills a bunch of forms, prove stuff to the government etc. From what my friend told me this is not as intense in France, which also means people can submit wrongful claims, which then take extra resources to sort through later. I don’t know if this is true, just what I’ve heard :slight_smile:

Oooh yes… this is a hot potato. In Finland there is many who politically support or dislike the trade unions. I might self-censor myself in order not to get banned on viki. However, this that I can say, from the sounds of things, we may have somewhat similar to you but your unions might have rights to protest and strike than us (Vive la Revolution!). There are no road blockings etc here, I’ve seen news reports when farmers do this in France, pretty interesting
Here strikes happen between collective agreements, which by law are legally binding for their specific industry and constitute a industry wide minimum salary. So every 4 or so years the industry companies have to negotiate with the unions about worker protections, salaries, other benefits and this agreement then essentially becomes the law of the land. A typical strike here is when the workers go home for a few days and enjoy the free time until the industry gives in. :smiley:

I think 76% of Finnish working population belong to a union, how is this figure in France?

Yes this is the same here, a few years back a law came into force demanding 1:10 like you have, but they can’t really fill it.

I agree :smiley:


I find his picture better than the statue xd

That’s the story of “sauna” :astonished: what about other folklore tales?

For military exploits from the same period, Charles de Gaulle who organized the resistance from England for WWII. Like Mannerheim, he became President.

For military exploits: Napoleon Bonaparte I (+created the Senate, the Civil Law, brought back colleges, sold French Louisiana to Jefferson USA, built monuments like Arc de Triomphe, famous gardens).

Every year, fans of Napoleon do a reenactment of the Napoleonic Wars (The Battle of Waterloo!).

For intellectual discovery, maths, philosophy, sociology, psychology, medicine: Descartes (father of modern philosophy and cartesian thinking), Pasteur (rabbies vaccine).
From the 18th century: Victor Hugo, Voltaire, Zola, Diderot, Rousseau…
Enlightment philosophers from the 18th century promoted education, defended commoners against nobility, denounced nobility abuse and influenced people until the French Revolution in 1789 that changed our political system (absolute monarchy). It’s the most important date to remember if you want to become naturalized.
That event participated to the construction of future democracy.

That’s interesting, I thought Finland was like a peaceful country. Halo effect :stuck_out_tongue:
Same, every 2-3 years, there are negotiations between employers unions and employees unions and they update collective agreements.

We have around 10 % (private) and 20 % (public) of workers that adhere to a labour union.
The reason is because even if we don’t adhere to a union, all employees get to benefit from the union’s negotiation. So people don’t really see the interest to pay a contribution to adhere to a trade union.
The right of strike is all employees under the same banner, the head being the union to negotiate with the state.

Yeah, they ask a bunch of papers from different organisms.
Do you know Asterix and Obelix? It’s a French comics. In the same building, they had to do all the services for a permit (not a bureau oops):

This scene in the cartoon is hilarious. Look at the tablets/forms in his hands lol

If you call because your phone line or internet is not working, they will make you call from dpt #1 until dpt #10 and you still haven’t solved your problem :joy:


We don’t have so many, sniff, probably why Mannerheim is such a big figure. We do have intellectuals etc. but their really not revered as much, not even close. All of them are all good, but Mannerheim got us through alive ww2, without us becoming a Soviet republic like Estonia.

Yeah, I used to watch the cartoons,especially like them smashing those Romans :smiley: That sounds like very French bureaucracy xD :stuck_out_tongue:

Oh, here people get something like 80% of their salary from the union for something like 6 months if they get unemployed if they pay those contributions, higher then the unemployment benefits :smiley:

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It doesn’t really matter where they come from or if they do many or few things, but what they did, including Mannerheim, yeah their story is incredible.

That’s a lot!

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Although credit card debts and mortgage debts perhaps even a leased car is a normalcy in the US, many people also business folks have too many cards, for airline miles, then retail stores, and banks.

Did you know in the US the more credit cards you have and pay them back regularly the better credit score you have which will facilitate getting loans or a mortgage!! I had to indeed get credit cards in order to increase my credit score!! It is controversial, so if you have no debt your score is very low.

Several years ago a boom of thrift stores hit the US or the East Coast, also rich people shop there. Years ago you could get a sweater for 1 or 2 $ it’s now 4 or 6$… the thrift stores are full or merchandise and space it getting smaller and smaller. Before you could drop off almost any “junk” now they became extremely selective!

You find some clothing that was washed just once or not even worn! Why not buy there seasonal decoration? That said the Dollar stores are booming just as well… there are still lots of folks that are thrifty when it comes to spending. - But when it comes to tech gadgets that’s another story.

And household appliances aren’t meant to last very long as well… sell sell sell, keep the economy running. It is a big problem we have seen during lockdown… Tally Weijl stores had huge money problem and received a big loan… many stores in US are closing, perhaps it is meant to happen as there is a market saturation of everything even food!

I think the Japanese are known for minimalist lifeform.

The issue why people keep shopping is also the advertising campaigns that run where ever you go and with google ads each website is flooded with it, newspapers, magazines TV… where else… it is the humans weakness to become victims and there is the prestige thing that a human “needs”…
Not all follow this stream but it is high time to rethink our true life values, what is really important and what not. Do you need this today and tomorrow, can you live without it.

I also lived during the communism era, as we know their economic principles don’t work, the shoe store in my hometown had perhaps 5 shoe models… As a child I don’t remember lacking anything like food or clothing, we had a TV and a car, but we didn’t have this excessive materials since either it wasn’t available or not needed. - It is true that the older generation has a different view than the younger ones, we also didn’t grow up with mobile phones and internet, so technically the technology has also changed the economy and therefore shopping habits…


The price has always been a wonder for me!
Here, it’s easily x3-x8 (material, decorations, margin…). The price level could be a brake to overconsumption and so it encourages us to minimalism for clothes!

Currently reading “The Fabric of the Digital Idiot” and the author said in short that screens also have negative effects on learning, cerebral activity or make people more depressed, nervous, hypnotized by TV and that puts the brain under stress with multiple stimuli. He explained that directors of digital firms such as Apple put their children in traditional schools where they limit or don’t use screens, tablets, apps… The same products they sell to others.

Some schools get funded by sponsors such as commercial companies, TV channels. They play ads and news (weather, sports…) for a period of time to children at school. They were most of the time not educative, but children think that there’s an educative meaning or it’s good because it is shown during class by the teacher.
Some researches measured what children memorized and concluded that children memorized better ads than news.
If exposed for a long time, years, they can create a new habit for people and create a different perception: children who got exposed to these ads at school tend to have a materialist conception of the world. Brands, rich… The sales of the TV channel in question soared. The channel knew the effects on children.


Another ex: soda companies and school.
They have programs where if you buy sodas in A school, the A school gets more funds. So they allowed the soda consumption during classes.
Here’s an example of a real letter linked to this matter:

"Here is how we can do it:

  1. Allow students to purchase and consume vended products throughout the day. If sodas are not allowed in classes, consider allowing juices, teas and waters.
  2. Locate machines where they are accessible to the students all day. Location, location, location is the key.
  3. A list of soda products is enclosed to allow you to select from the entire menu.
  4. A calendar of promotional events is enclosed to help you advertise soda products.

I know this is ‘just one more thing from downtown’, but the long-term benefits are worth it."

Commercial companies also do educational kits that they distribute to children.
Ex of what children can read:

  • the only important thing to check for breakfast is the fat proportion in ingredients (from a cereal’s brand)
  • carbon dioxide (climate warming) could make plants grow bigger (from a coal’s foundation at a period of time)
  • cutting trees is good for the environment because it imitates how nature gets rid of trees (for a company that sells diapers)

Or commercial companies organize visits in their shops, companies for children.
At the end of the visit, children of 6 years old get coupons and they are told that these are coupons to give to their parents so they can return and buy what they saw today.

It’s brainwashing!


We could also talk about marketing techniques to make us buy!






Or when you go to IKEA or some shops and you only have 1 way to exit, so you saw almost all the products they sell :slight_smile:



This one would have the opposite effect on Dutch people!
To me the price just went from 1 dollar and about 70 cents to 1699 dollar! :rofl:


That’s what I also thought, for a moment. Then I remembered they use commas as digit separators.
You must think this in European terms, not with comma but with a point.
1.699 euros vs. 1699 euros.


I’ve often heard about this “credit score” but the actually meaning isn’t quite clear. China has it’s social credit which gives you benefits for “Good behavior” so is it similar, but in a financial sense?
Sorry if it’s a dumb question :slight_smile:

Yeah, that’s why I think privacy is important, even though google ads don’t kill you they still affect your life in such ways as you describe.

Makes sense, if you think about it news and ads are meant to be perceived differently. Ads are meant to be remembered and associated with brands while News is there to evoke some momentary feeling or just for an informative purpose.


From the same iconography, there are other examples too:




I didn’t know it was called the “Gruen transfer”.
For water, we have to go at the back of the supermarket.
When we enter a supermarket, colorful fruits are at the beginning or a central space.
Yeah, clothes shops have music.
I fall for buy 1, get 1.
I don’t like when they put the timing left before the end of their sales event, that creates “emergency”.

" 21. Act like a Doctor

Do your buyers open up to you?

As humans, we enjoy talking with people that ask insightful questions that help us open up and share details about ourselves.

Researchers at Harvard studied what happens in our brains when we discuss information about our favorite subject - ourselves. The researchers showed that talking about ourselves is linked to pleasure, and that it improved not just our self-perception, but also our perception of the person we are talking to. This is why doctors are perceived as trustworthy, respected and friendly – because they tend to ask questions that you wouldn’t normally answer to others.

Salespeople who ask insightful questions to their buyers create a more enjoyable buying experience, which helps increase sales."


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Oh, I prefer to know when it ends, so that I can think: “Well, I could buy it tomorrow/next week/next month.” If I don’t know, I might think right now is my only chance … :stuck_out_tongue:

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Lol that’s why I unsuscribe from shopping mails. They still find a way to send mails, but decluterring mails or see less shopping mails in the mailbox in the morning or throughout the day, the feeling I got is :ok_hand:. Less temptations too!


Can’t agree with you more Facebook/YT comments use to have a negative effect on me, so getting out was the best thing I ever did in my life. There are weirdos on FB that everything you post they take it personally, even if they were never posted there relating to them.

What made me get out of FB was that everything you add there becomes their property so i felt betrayed when i couldn’t delete my own pictures i had on the page. Once you close the account pictures and all are deleted forever so I can finally sleep in peace not wondering what they can do with my grandkids pics.

Yeah, agree. Though yours and my pictures may still be there, their just not public. It’s called shadow profiling. I think you should be able to remove pictures, posts etc. especially if it’s something embarrasing or bad said/done in once youth, which isn’t you today.


no wonder it’s also called “Fraudbook”… it’s gotten so bad… including many websites that want you to agree to so many cookies under the disguise of “security” which is in fact trailing you and wasting money for all the third parties company to analyze you or perhaps they make even money from you without you knowing… sadly internet isn’t anymore what it used to be… it’s a footprint shadowing compared to gestapo… I believe it started with 9/11 long time ago we could read about the nsa compound in Utah that has built all kinds of storages and servers to retain all kind of info and data and phone calls, to run this facility back then it cost 1 million U$ per month for the electricity usage… if you google it, you might still find that info.

We are just a puppets of capitalism and economy, without economy what else can we live on… perhaps going back to the roots, the age of kings and pheasants is coming, you won’t keep much and give a lot or everything… where is middle class?


Well I try to live my life on my terms, not caring about all the different -isms as far as possible. :slight_smile: