The Cyberflâneur #17: Li Andersson

Li Andersson, 32, is Finland’s Minister of Education and the Chairperson of the Left Alliance party. Andersson (Twitter) and her party are an integral part of Finland’s current government formed last December (Andersson occupied the same post in the previous administration). This government has been universally hailed not only for its relatively young age – three other ministers, including the Prime Minister, are under 40 – but also for its radical commitments, including those aimed at raising the level of education in Finland and making it the first carbon-neutral welfare state in the world.

This is what Li Andersson had to say about The Syllabus:

Having limited time to read means that a curated thematic library is a life-saver in seeking information, keeping up on societal creativity and finding research and analysis to base future policy on.

Her ten selections (along with the comments) follow below. Li has also linked to the relevant part of the impressive government programme – you can read them by clicking on “+” below Andersson’s comments.

~ Evgeny Morozov


Li Andersson’s Selections

I.

Rationalising Public Support for Private Early Childhood Education and Care: the Case of Finland

Although market logics have gained a strong foothold in kindergartens in various municipalities, there is a keen interest in universalism and maintaining public control over local early childhood care.

+ Policy: We will explore the opportunity of limiting profit-seeking in early childhood education and care – in the same way as we do in comprehensive school education. Private services in early childhood education and care must observe the same quality criteria as public services. Private early childhood education and care providers must not operate without a permit.


II.

The Art of Governing Local Education Markets – Municipalities and School Choice in Finland

The Nordic social model is based on universalism, however stronger elements of selectivism have challenged our social model in various areas of society including our schools. This article looks at the phenomenon from the perspective of school choice.

+ Policy: In order to improve learning outcomes and tackle inequality, we focus on the quality and equality in comprehensive school education. We commit to the long-term development and funding of comprehensive school education, to the implementation of the curriculum, to funding for positive discrimination, and to encourage more flexible teaching.


III.

Social Assistance Trajectories among Young Adults in Finland: What Are the Determinants of Welfare Dependency?

Social welfare is designed to help people in need but not to be a permanent measure. Education, on the other hand, lays a foundation that helps to provide all people with real opportunities to pursue their dreams. This article argues that education, in fact, strongly reduces the risk of dependency on social assistance programmes.

+ Policy: We will raise the minimum school leaving age to 18 years.


IV.

What Are the Constraints for a Green New Deal?

An analysis of economic models and public investment regarding the Green Deal – the talk raises interesting questions on its funding, including through debt. The argument is that money raised by taxes or carbon certificates will not be available for investment because we need redistribution to avoid future yellow-vest type movements and to gain social acceptance. The big question, however, is how to achieve social acceptance for the public investments.

+ Policy: We will develop a new energy support scheme, shifting the focus from production subsidies to grants supporting investments in new energy technologies and product demonstrations.


V.

A Manifesto for the World as One Finds It (on climate change)

An important reminder that effective climate action must transcend the narrow bounds of environmental policy; the digital economy also has a massive environmental footprint – and policy-makers should attend to it as well.

+ Policy: We will amend the Act on Public Procurement and Concession Contracts so that carbon and environmental footprints will be included as criteria for procurement contracts where the environmental impact is significant.


VI.

Climate Change’s Great Lithium Problem

Decarbonizing mobility depends on minerals used in battery production, a process laden with politics and contestation, in Finland as well as in developing countries. The article holds that, properly designed, a Green New Deal could transform the fraught dynamics that currently govern lithium and other valuable commodities, reducing the odds of the climate catastrophe.

+ Policy: The possibility of taxing profits on the sale of mining rights in Finland even when foreign corporations hold these rights will be investigated. We will improve the compatibility of mining permits and environmental permits.


VII.

Oil is the New Data

A disturbing insight into big tech shaking hands with big oil.

+ Policy: In cooperation with the business sector, Finland will develop a binding regulatory framework on corporate responsibility as part of the reform work underway in the UN and the OECD.


VIII.

On Carbon Finance and the Economics of Climate Change

Not Cool is a ‘must hear podcast’ explaining the international carbon market, the economic risks of not addressing climate change and the benefits of a low carbon economy in this episode.

+ Policy: Further measures to tighten the EU’s emissions reduction targets will be focused on the emissions trading sector to enable energy production and industry to progress towards a low-carbon target in all Member States.


IX.

A Planet to Win (on the Green New Deal)

We need to re-imagine the multiple ways in which the fossil economy affects our way of life. An effective climate policy needs to think of this in order to be able to mobilize mass support.

+ Policy: Changes in income taxation and benefits will allow for the impact of climate measures on low-income individuals to be compensated.


X.

Green Deal for Europe: More Climate Protection and Fewer Fossil Fuel Wars

An important reminder that geopolitics remains the often invisible, background condition shaping today’s policy discussions about energy and climate protection.

+ Policy: Finland will work to combat and adapt to climate change in all foreign and security policy sectors, including trade and development policy.


More About our Cyberflâneur Series

To learn more about how this particularly eclectic edition of our syllabi works, head over here. Note that if you subscribe to any of our weekly syllabi, we’ll keep you posted on our latest cyberflâneurs too. Our subscribers also get a monthly Highlights From the Cyberflâneur edition.

You can also take a look at the previous editions of the Cyberflâneur:


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