Thursday, November 03, 2005

Article: Finland, Finland, Finland, the country where I'd like to be...

So apparently every year in Finland, the government publishes a list of everything everyone makes.

The richest person in the country is Aatos Erkko, the main owner of media house SanomaWSOY, with a personal fortune of 192 million euros. The top wage earner was Olli Riikala, an executive of U.S. General Electric, making 5.3 million euros.

5.3 million euros translates into about 4.4 million dollars. Compare this to the Forbes 400 list, where the poorest of the 400 richest people in America, Walter Herbert Shorenstein, is worth $900 million dollars. The richest, of course, is evil Microsoft Lord of the Pit Bill Gates, worth over $51 BILLION DOLLARS.

Bill Gates Lord of the Pit
Finland, by the way, has some of the highest quality of life indicators in the world.

Now, I'm not against money. I want more money. So do you. But it got me thinking - why doesn't our government publish a list of what everyone makes? I'll even go one farther - Why doesn't our government publish a list of what everyone makes and how much they paid in taxes each year? You could even add other categories, such as profession, job title, and how they earned their money.

Corruption in government contracting would disappear. It would make tax evasion much more difficult. It would lead to a fairer tax system, most likely a flat tax of some sort, as everyone would literally see what everyone else pays (I made the same amount of money as my neighbor, but I paid twice as much in taxes? What gives?) And it would lead to better wages - why should two people in the same company with the same job responsibilities and titles be paid differently? Gender? Race? Favoritism? And think of the entertainment value!

Just saying. The key to progress is knowledge. Transparency is the antiseptic to corruption.


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