Readers write about what America can learn from Finland.
Regarding the May 1 Opinion piece, "What Finland can teach America about true luxury": Bravo for the Finns. They find happiness in towns with modest architecture, in living in modest flats, in working modest jobs and, when the vacation mood strikes, in driving modest cars to their modest cabins to get centered doing modest chores. With their high personal, corporate, and value-added taxes, I presume they have little choice.
The purpose of this article is to convince Americans to learn a lesson from such simplicity. Maybe Americans need to hear that. But I can't help but believe that the main and more sinister point of the article is to persuade readers that such modesty is correct for our times and represents a higher value than the freedom each American enjoys to determine his or her own path to happiness, however immodest that path may be. If my instinct is correct, I invite the author to forego his freedom and relocate to Finland. He has no business trying to move Finland over here.
In this commentary, author Trevor Corson hits upon one aspect of our economic might – the excessive reliance on individual consumption. This has benefits, and also major downfalls, as evidenced in the recent economic crises.
However, I disagree that the majority of us are in the pursuit of this larger-than-life style of consumerism. On the contrary, we are diverse, we are creative, we wish to be challenged, and what might be construed as a toy today, could very well be the tool for tomorrow.