Editorial Below the election is how politics has become an art of impossibility in a world of boundlessness

It has been stupid not to promise too much in the campaigning and electoral debates in the regional elections. Maybe it’s stupid already in the election in general.

Policy was before the ancient art of opportunity in a world of limitations. Boundaries were usually born of money: parties determined during elections how they would distribute limited good to voters. Now we are talking about borders when it comes to climate and nature, but in the world of the economy, borders seem to have disappeared completely.

The last few years have changed the concept of limitation in politics. During the zero interest period, interest rates on Finnish debt fell to frost. It has been financially viable to get into debt, the lender is paid. The pandemic pushed in the same direction. It has made sense to revive – even then with that negative interest rate debt. And, of course, the costs defined as good investments pay for themselves.

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Regional elections have been viewed from many angles in order to find signals and precedents for national politics.

Interpretations are hampered by many factors. For example, the fact that the people of Helsinki do not vote now. Or the fact that turnout in regional elections is feared to be low.

The detachment from the concept of limitation, on the other hand, is visible nationally and even globally. In the Finnish regional elections, monetary restrictions seem to have been completely forgotten. Party after party promises nine good and ten beautiful. The funding of the promises seems to be a side issue, and the promises are not even prioritized.

Problematic this is because regions do not have the opportunity to increase their funding through their own tax and debt decisions, and an aging population will increase care spending in any case.

It is hard to believe that politics would return to a world of limitations during the parliamentary elections. That would be stupid not to promise too much. Those who are now performing poorly in the regional elections are likely to promise even more in the next election.

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When the zero interest rate period ends, monetary policy will return to normal and the price of debt will rise again, so an aging Finland will be forced to limit its indebtedness. Then the gap between the needs of politics and the necessities of the economy will widen. In the real world, limitations always win.

The editorials are HS’s statements on a topical issue. The writings are prepared by HS’s editorial staff and reflect the magazine principle.

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