EUROPEAN VOICES by ALEXANDER STUBB p Confessions of a free trader the world's states can be called democracies. Free market capitalism has not become the norm. In many places, the state is still heavily involved in business. For the past 20 years I have expected the state to stay out of the private sector. Now I'm coming to realise that perhaps reality is not so black and white. in europe and North America business is still business, at least most of the time. but in the rest of the world, a little help from the government may give foreign trade a much needed boost. A phone call from a minister might help to clinch a deal in Russia or China, for instance. We seem to be living in a world where old fashioned trade delegations are more the norm than the exception. Presidents and prime ministers alike are travelling the world with corporate delegations. The aim is to secure big deals for their domestic companies. The Americans do it, the brits do it, the French do it, the Chinese do it, the brazilians do it and the Germans do it. And I actually think that Finns should do it, too. I feel so much better now that I have got this off my chest. My ideal will always be free trade, pure and simple. In the meantime, I will do my part in promoting Finnish business around world. AlexAnder Stubb iS FinlAnd'S miniSter oF Foreign AFFAirS. lease bear with me. This is probably the most difficult column I have ever written, because I have a confession to make. I'm a market liberal with a social conscience. I believe in the invisible hand of economist Adam Smith combined with some Keynesian government intervention. I am also a great fan of free trade between nations. I hate protectionism; to me, it's just another form of nationalism. I know of no nation that has prospered by closing its borders. When Finland joined the European Union in 1995 I was elated. We were finally where we belonged, among the most avid free traders of the world. The EU is based on the free movement of I wIll dO my PARt IN PROmOtINg FINNISh bUSINESS AROUNd thE wORld. goods, services, capital and labour. Open markets are an important element for a country dependent on exports. I also thought, like American philosopher and political economist Francis Fukuyama, that most nations of the world would embrace liberal democracy and free markets after the Cold War. Much to my dismay the world has not turned out to be perfect. Only a third of FEbRUARy 2011 Blue WinGS 35 ENg
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