April 21, 2011

Nationalism is bad for business

In my home country Finland there was just last weekend parliamentary elections where a small, populist party took all of a sudden 39 seats out of 200. Anti-immigration, anti-EU & anti-everything party with a funny name of "True-Finns" is now going to be in the parliament, maybe even taking part of the coalition government. Oh no !

My learnings in the world of construction has been that nationalism never boosts development. The most self-sufficient and nationalistic market areas have many time the most backward technologies in use. The adaptability for change and new things makes the difference between the good and bad - nationalism does not help in this.

I remember so well one discussion at teh World of Concrete exhibitions in USA some years ago where a visitor asked what kind of references we have in the state of Kentucky - I told that unfortunately none so far, only references in 30+ countries and several states in USA - and I got the answer that our solutions are unfortunately not suitable.

On other repeated story in our company is the technical approvals required by national building authorities. Why does it take several years to approve a product in one European country if the product has already been approved in several European countries before? The nationalism of these institutes slows down new innovations and lead to non-development.

New ideas, new methods, new thinking has to spread around the world. Although I might insult some of my dear Finnish customers, I want "True-Finns" out of the Finnish parliament. Maybe my dream becomes true in four years. Nationalism is just never good business for international companies, neither helps the industries to be more competitive.

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