Share good ideas and conversation.   Login, Join Us, or Take a Tour!
comment by kleinbl00
kleinbl00  ·  202 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Finland, home of the $103k speeding ticket

There are only a few people in the world that would have me hunting for the annual reports of Helsinki before I've had my coffee.


In the United States, a disturbing percentage of operational budgets comes from fines and civil forfeiture. For example, the DEA has an operational budget of $30b a year and they take about $300m a year from people who don't even end up charged with a crime. For example, here's the budget for Los Angeles. Of LA's $9b budget, a billion dollars comes from "other fees, fines and taxes" of which nearly $200m comes from parking tickets alone. Helsinki's budget, on the other hand, includes the line "0 million euros" from a dog tax.

Here's the 2017 report of the Finnish police. As an American this in and of itself is novel - the idea that a nation has a "police department" rather than the patchwork of fiefdoms we have here. Between my house in Seattle and the birth center 10 minutes away we go through two jurisdictions; between my house and the airport I go through one city, the state police (on the freeway), another city, and then when I get to the airport I'm dealing with the port police and none of those guys cooperate (or draw from the same budget). You'll note that they get zero money from fines. In fact, they whinge on there about how their income went down because 68m in revenue from red light cameras went to the department of transportation rather than them.

That's all of Finland. My town in WA, official population 38,000, makes about $2m a year on red light cameras. That's part of the operating budget. That's what we keep the roads paved with. That's what pays for the fire department.

The incentives are completely asymmetrical. Nowhere in Finland is there a cop sitting on an empty road waiting for tourists to come by at 5mph over because there's no other way to keep his kids' school open.

And, not to put too fine a point on it, Finland is ethnically homogeneous. If you get pulled over in Finland, it's because you're speeding. Nobody in Finland has ever heard "sorry, sir, I thought you were Mexican" like I have in Los Angeles. Nobody in Finland has ever given up his Ferrari because he was sick of being pulled over three times a week like my Ph.D-in-Ethnomusicology-teaches-at-Cal-Arts-Worked-With-Quincy-Jones black neighbor.

There's a fundamental assumption in Europe that police operate fairly, assuming you aren't one of those dirty brown people from Syria or Algeria. There's a fundamental assumption in the US that the police are robbing, prejudicial privateers.

In the US this would become a rapper-and-basketball-player tax. What you'd see is massive tickets against African Americans who were uppity enough to buy a BMW or Mercedes. It would become a mechanism by which the trade school crackers with badges and guns could shake down those uppity negros in their too-good-for-us rides and it would be ugly.

haystackoverflow  ·  201 days ago  ·  link  ·  

OK, kleinbl00, what rustles my jimmies is the word homogeneous. I'm so rustled that I actually bothered to register a new account because I couldn't remember my old one.

See, the table your source lists only accounts for 1st generation immigrants. 2nd, or nth generation immigrants are going to be included in the top category. So it doesn't give a very good picture. For example, 20% of kids under 7 years in the capital area have a foreign family background (Sorry, it's in Finnish only and as a new user I'm not allowed to post links, so here's a manual source link: 18% of people living in Vantaa have a foreign background. Third+ generation immigrants are no longer counted as having a foreign background, so 18% of Vantaa residents are 1st or 2nd generation immigrants. Sure, it's not as diverse as the US in terms of Mexicans per capita, but certainly that's not homogeneous by any stretch.

I can accept you calling the countryside, where 60% of ethnic finns live, homogeneous. But I find this irrelevant, partly because the police doesn't want to waste their limited resources on sitting by empty roads, and partly because there's not going to be any Mexican driving a Porsche around there anyway.

> If you get pulled over in Finland, it's because you're speeding

While the police is generally very professional, racial profiling is still an issue (English, check it out:

> Nobody in Finland has ever heard "sorry, sir, I thought you were Mexican"

This is likely right, but "Sorry, sir, I thought you were Russian" probably isn't.

kleinbl00  ·  201 days ago  ·  link  ·  


I appreciate your input, and I appreciate you keeping me honest. At the same time, you need to understand that my neighbors to the west are Laotian, my neighbors to the east are Mexican, my neighbors across the street are Armenian and here in LA, at least, the odds that any service or labor staff speak more than broken English are slim.

Growing up, I had to cross thirteen separate native reservations if I wanted to play minigolf.

Rustled jimmies or no, you have not compelled me to reconsider Finland to be an ethnically diverse nation.

tacocat  ·  202 days ago  ·  link  ·  

Why choose this day to tell us all that you hate America?