Promootioillallinen: Kunniatohtorin vastaus, Arlie Hochschild

In 1897 a nine year old girl, the daughter of a widowed mother, lived on the west coast of Finland in Puri. Faced with famine and poverty, she – along with her mother, uncle and baby brother -- sailed to America. Behind her was a life of desperation, before her, the American Dream.

What would this young girl discover if she could see her native Finland as it is today, over a century later? What she would see would depend on her “moral eyes.” Would she define success, as some in the America of 1897 did, by the extent of territorial conquest, military might and wealth? Or looking through the wiser eyes of enlightened policy makers and educators – such as are assembled here tonight – would she look for human welfare. Let’s say she chose the second.

And what would she find? One of the most well-governed, best educated, equality-minded nations in the world. She would discover a country that welcomes the working woman, and whose state policies help young couples balance work and family life far more generously than does the U.S. She would find a country that does far more than the U.S. to narrow the gap between rich and poor.

As for the wellbeing of children between 7 and 12, the age of this young girl:- more good news. A 2007 UNICEF report -- the so-called U.N. Report Card 7 -- compares the 21 richest nations in the world. How many books are in a child’s house? How often does a child eat dinner together with her family? Does a child go to a good school? Does a child go to a doctor when sick? Eat regular healthy meals? This young girl would find that Finland—the country she left – now wins top scores. (Very high in 4 out of 6 areas of a child’s life). And she would find the country to migrated to, the United States, although rich, scores at or near the bottom in 5 out of 6 areas.

Now imagine this girl studies the recent, massive United Nations report on happiness in 150 countries. Countries with happier people, she would learn, tend to enjoy political freedom, strong social networks, and a culture of honesty. Wealth by itself does not produce happiness. Individuals in happy countries tend to enjoy good mental and physical health. Happy people have someone to count on. Happy people have secure jobs. Happy people have stable families. In happiness, Finland ranks near the very top and the U.S. does not.

No nation in the world is a paradise, of course. But this little girl – looking ahead a hundred years, might realize that the nation she left behind was to transform itself, through time, into a uniquely humane “Finnish Dream.” And the nation she’d migrated to, she would see, could learn much from its shining example.

That little girl was my grandmother.
Verkkopalvelumme käyttää evästeitä, lue lisää evästeistä. Jatkamalla sivuston selailua hyväksyt evästeiden käytön. [Hyväksyn ehdot]