Thursday, August 13, 2009

Reading :: The Information Society and the Welfare State

The Information Society and the Welfare State: The Finnish Model
By Manuel Castells and Pekka Himanen

Given my interest in the Nordic countries' "third way" between socialism and capitalism, I was eager to pick up this book, which is an attempt to examine how Castells' discussion of the information society fares in the Finnish welfare state. The authors emphasize that Silicon Valley is not the only model for the information society - we won't become a planet of Silicon Valleys - and they set out to examine Finland's development as another model.

Unfortunately, this book is not the sort of expansive theorization that I have enjoyed so much with some of Castells' other books. It is filled with statistics and case studies about the Finnish economy, it seems to incisively examine Finland's upcoming challenges, and it does note the fact that Finns have traditionally resisted flexible work because it threatens to weaken the welfare state. This is all good and valuable work, but unless you have a specific interest in Finland's development, it may not be riveting to you.

No comments: