Miksi nälänhätä nosti epätasa-arvoa?
Nälänhätä pakotti maatalousväestön ottamaan velkaa perheen ruokkimiseen, mikä johti maatilojen pakkolunastuksiin.
The channel through which the famine could have influenced inequality is its effect on land distribution. Indeed, in the aftermath of the famine, land ownership became increasingly concentrated. Many households were either forced to sell their farms and other property to feed their family, abandon their homes to find food elsewhere, or their farms had to be auctioned off
Tilastotieteen dosentti Edward Gylling - myöhempi punahallinnon talousministeri, Neuvosto-Karjalan pääministeri ja venäläisten suomalaisiin kohdistuneen kansanmurhan yksi uhri - kuvasi nälkävuosien tilannetta Työväen Almanakassa 1917 näin:
Wheat was largely bought with debt money. Farms and houses were used as a collateral. When the famine continued, farmers could not pay back their debts. On the contrary, new debt would have been needed. Payments were dunned despite the extreme distress. [...] Hundreds and thousands of houses were foreclosed because of even small debts, unpaid rents, or unpaid taxes. [...] Many farms changed hands, and ownership became more concentrated than before.
Standard economic theory suggests that this should have increased workers’ bargaining power and wages. However, the same logic is not likely to apply in the presence of coercive labor market institutions which we consider more descriptive of the Finnish labor markets in the era. For example, Domar (1970) and Brenner (1976) argued that elites might respond to labor scarcity by engaging in more labor coercion.
Acemoglu and Wolitzky (2011) construct a theoretical framework where the equilibrium impact of labor scarcity on coercion depends on workers’ outside options and the price of the good produced by the elites. Acemoglu and Wolitzky’s theory predicts a tendency towards tightening coercion in the Finnish case; the prices of agricultural products increased due to famine, and workers lacked outside options. The latter point was because there were merely a few cities and few employment opportunities in industrial production.
Even when the country started industrializing eventually, pursuing outside opportunities was difficult due to negative attitudes towards migration, low social mobility, and various geographical mobility restrictions, such as passport requirements (Lento 1951). Free movement of labor was banned until 1898 (Happonen 2004).
A particular feature of the Finnish case was the prevalence of tenant farming, which was an essential part of rural labor markets in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The number of tenant farmers increased through the late 1800s and early 1900s, with tenant farms constituting nearly half of all farms in 1912. The poor position of tenant farmers and agricultural laborers was one of the most contentious policy issues in the Finnish public debate in the early 1900s (Rasila 1970). In the Finnish system, tenant farmers paid their rent mainly in day labor (taksvärkki), and monetary rent for the land was rare.
While tenant farming was not serfdom per se, it was a coercive labor relationship as the large landowners had significant power over their tenants (see also Naidu and Yuchtman 2013). It was arguably more beneficial for the landed elites to increase tenant farming instead of hired labor when there was upward wage pressure due to labor scarcity. In many cases, the demand for farmable land was high but no land was made available for sale, making tenant farming the only option (Peltonen 1990; Peltonen 1992).
Tenant farmers seldom had written contracts, and the landowners could easily make additional, sometimes arbitrary, demands to their tenants. Particularly taxing was the landowners’ right to require extra day labor (ylipäivät) and employ the tenant farmer’s family. As contract termination was also entirely in the hands of the landowners, the tenant farmers typically had no other choice than to agree with the unilateral changes in the contract terms. Otherwise, tenants could have lost their home, employment, and source of income (Rasila 1970).
Historiallinen taustoistus sille miten kapinaan ajauduttiin
Tutkimus taustoittaa kapinan historiaa erinomaisesti. Kapinaan ei johtanut pelkkä epätasa-arvoisuus vaan ainakin väkivaltamonopolin häviäminen Suomesta ja Venäjän bolsheviikkihallituksen kiihotus. Muu tutkimushan on soittanut että bolsheviikit painostivat onnistuneesti sosiaalidemokraatteja liittymään bolsheviikkien masinoimaan mailmanvallankumoukseen. (Lasse Lehtinen, Risto Volanen, Kuinka vallankumous levisi Suomeen.)
Historical Contingency It is likely that the nature of civil conflict in Finland would have been very different without the Russian Revolution and the sudden Finnish independence. High inequality is an important yet alone not a sufficient explanation for the Finnish Civil War. As Upton (1980) puts it: “There wasn’t anything inherent in the pre-WW1 Finnish society that made the revolution necessary or even probable.” The changing circumstances in which groups competed for power, especially the weakness of the state, also mattered. It was the interaction of these internal and external factors—the sources of historical contingency—that caused the conflict.
During the first world war, the previously law-abiding Finns began to revolt against the Russian government that put forward many wartime “Russification” policies such as censoring newspapers, creating a Russian police force, and limiting parliament assembly (Upton 1980; Haltzel et al. 1981; Alapuro 1988). The wartime habit of revolting against the ruling elites endured after Finland became independent of Russia.
At the same time, a power vacuum emerged within Finland. After the indepence, there was no national police or army presence to upkeep order, which had always been provided by the powerful empire (Alapuro 1988). Labor organizations formed a municipal militia that took the role of holding peace, while right-wing groups created their own guards to control the increased striking and turmoil. The line between private and state forces became increasingly diluted; in other words, the state lost its monopoly on violence. This development led to the arming of political organizations, greatly facilitating the civil war. The ambiguity in power relations at the national level exacerbated the situation even further.
Even though the Social Democrats gained
the majority of parliamentary seats before the civil war, they were uninterested in dissolving their
militias or relinquishing control to the government, as the strong bureaucracy was controlled by
non-socialists. This hesitance stemmed from general mistrust among the workers’ movement that
the election results would be upheld.
Finally, the Russian Revolution made revolting seem like a more specific route to social change. Since the late-1800s, there had been a political discussion and movement to push forward critical social policies such as eight-hour workdays, more equal land distribution, and franchise extension. These movements had, however, stayed non-violent and non-revolutionary for several decades. Finns had organized into parties and labor unions which had slowly made headway in these issues through political means (Upton 1980). This did not seem enough anymore, and people started to demand faster social change.
Tasa-arvon lisääntyminen kapinan jälkeen
Tutkimus taustoittaa myös sitä, miten kapinan jälkeen epätasa-arvoisuus laski, koska Suomessa tehtiin useampia maareformeja, joista torpparivapautus oli ensimmäinen, ja kunnallisvaaliuudistus.
Torpparivapaustus oli jo käsittelyssä eduskunnassa, kun kapina alkoi ja kunnallisvaaliuudistus oli jo myös hyväksytty. Niiden vaikutus ei ehtinyt estämään enää kapinaa.
After the civil war, significant policy changes affected both economic and political inequality. We argue that the famine positively contributed towards this development, contingent on the outcome of the civil war. Without the civil war, the slow process of social movement might have continued, possibly yielding the same societal results but more slowly. But it is also possible that many of the reforms would not have been implemented, and Finland would have become even more unequal.
A particularly important form of redistribution was the large land reform implemented after the civil war (Jörgensen 2006). Legislation passed in the year 1918 made it possible for the tenant farmers to buy the land they were renting at a discounted price. Four years later in 1922, the Parliament approved the Act on the acquisition of land for settlement purposes (278/1922) that gave the state and local authorities the right to facilitate the acquisition of land for citizens for cultivation and residential settlement. The government could redeem fractions of larger farms and redistribute the land to individuals who did not own any land before, but still had the knowledge and resources to start practicing agriculture on the newly acquired land.
Another crucial change was that the central government implemented a major electoral reform that established universal suffrage in municipal elections. The law was passed in the parliament after the declaration of independence, some months before the conflict onset in late 1917, and after years of debate in the parliament and significant resistance from the elite and landowners. In practice, however, municipal elections with universal and equal suffrage were not organized until after the conflict. The first democratic municipal elections with universal suffrage were held only half a year after the civil war. The reform extended municipal voting rights to some of those who fought with the government forces, but the poorer insurgent side was undoubtedly most affected.
The seminal Meltzer and Richard (1981) model predicts that extending political power to poorer segments of society leads to more redistribution and less inequality.10 But in general, democracy may not always change fiscal policy and the distribution of income. Counteracting forces such as the capture of democracy or a middle-class bias can also play an important role (Acemoglu and Robinson 2008; Acemoglu et al. 2015). However, in Finland in 1918, the conditions were ripe for changes—and the overall consensus was that changes were needed to prevent a new conflict from emerging. After the civil war and franchise extension, previously unrepresented segments of society gained political representation in local governments. The conservatives, who typically represented the landowners and other members of upper social classes, rarely had enough seats to get decisions through on their own. This served as a catalyst for collaboration between the conservatives and the left (Kettunen 1986; Aatsinki 2009).