Peter Nyberg

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Libera’s guest of the week, Dr. Soc. Sci. Peter Nyberg has retired from the position of Director General Financial Services at the Financial Markets Department at the Ministry of Finance. Prior to this, he worked at the Bank of Finland with banking and financial market issues, most recently as Advisor to the Board. Both positions included operations in several significant EU working groups and committees. After retiring, he has been asked by the Government of Ireland to conduct research into the reasons for the country’s banking crisis. He has also worked in the International Monetary Fund and participated as a consultant in several expert groups developing the financial systems of its member states. Nyberg is one of the authors of the book ”The future of the Euro – The Options for Finland” (“Euron tulevaisuus – Suomen vaihtoehdot”).

What is the greatest challenge for Finland?

-The greatest challenge is advancing Finnish competence and preserving it within Finland. Finland has little else but forest, water and brains, and therefore development of the standard of living requires developing and utilising our own competence and that of others. In a developed economy, this poses great demands on leadership in order to keep the greatest skills from transferring elsewhere. The often praised reserve officer training is not of much help in this case.

What is the greatest opportunity for Finland?

-The greatest opportunity is, in principle, the ability of a small and fairly unified nation to commit to common aims and long-term goals. This requires trust between different groups of citizens. This trust is not easily generated during normal times without constant proof that all parties are ready to sacrifice some of their own benefits for the common good. Mutual recriminations and accusations due to lack of trust end only at a time of crisis, if at all. It is expensive and inefficient.

Which individual issue would you change immediately?

– I would start children’s schooling earlier and make it more demanding. What you learn as a child usually gives direction to the rest of your life. Children should be taught important languages at a young age, as well as the ability to see problems and solve them together with others. For older children, we would need to consider reducing their selection options and emphasising difficult subjects (history, natural sciences, mathematics). Even in the best case, this would only have an effect in twenty years or so.

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