Hanna Kuusela: Top Earners and the Cultures of Wealth in Finland
Who are the Finnish top earners, where does their money come for, and what do they think of the society? In her talk, Academy Research Fellow Hanna Kuusela (Tampere University) discusses the different ways in which the Finnish top earners legitimise their own position at the top while undermining some of the basic characteristics of the Nordic model. The talk describes the different cultures of the rich inheritors, managers, and entrepreneurs belonging to the 0.1% of earners in Finland, and demonstrates how the top earners construct moral boundaries vis-à-vis their imagined others: the unemployed, the civil cervants, and the workers. Finally, the talk analyses how their processes of class-making are intertwined with the critique of the welfare state, its taxation, the tripartite cooperation, and also the entire democratic system.
The talk is based on Kuusela’s and Professor Anu Kantola’s 4-year research project on the top 0,1% of earners in Finland. In the project, Kantola and Kuusela collected statistical data and tax records on this top group and interviewed altogether 90 inheritors, entrepreneurs and managers who belong to the top earning 0,1% of Finns. Their Finnish monograph, Huipputuloiset (The Top Earners) was published in September 2019, and so far some of their findings in the project have been published in Sociology and Sociological Review.