In Finland, the government holds high stakes in private organizations through generous public funding, often making the private organizations more concerned with the needs of the government than the people. A large source of the public funding is taken straight from the taxpayers through the state lottery and gaming system.
Libera Foundation, an Atlas Network partner based in Helsinki, has created a database of government involvement in civil life, where consumers can take a look at how much money an organization is receiving from the government. Libera is focused on the lottery and gaming system because it is a major source of waste and creates a legal grey area where the government is able to pick and choose favorites.
Libera also recently published “Golden Fetters, 10 Steps Towards a Freer Civil Society”, a study that argues for a genuine civil society with reduced public funding from the government, a modification of funding allocation criteria, and a complete removal of the subsidies from the lottery and gaming system. Heikki Pursianen, a Finnish economist and Libera’s executive director, presented part of the study at a recent conference, explaining how to create a vibrant civil society based on voluntarism and private funding.
Pursianen hopes to foster an arena of thought for Finnish people interested in a society where freedom and responsibility meet.