like two drops of water

French President François Hollande and Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves


34 thoughts on “like two drops of water”

  1. Not brothers, but definitely something cousinly about Hollande and Ilves … and not just because they are both social democrats … [muidugi] … I was in Paris and tried to figure out why Ilves' face was on the cover of Le Monde


  2. Actually Ilves was a conservative before he became a social democrat.
    And since presidents in Estonia are not allowed to be a member of any political party he's currently neither.


  3. Does anyone know why do we get this bronze, distinctly Estonian tan? During winter we are several shades lighter than the Finns, pretty close to native British complexion, yet by the end of the summer we turn pronze. It has always puzzled me, for some odd reason.

    Ilves is still Social Democrat, he has not left the party, but is on extended leave.


  4. Way to go, Marko – erase your comments and leave mine hanging out of context. Which is exactly what I always give others (most notably LPR) flack for.


  5. re Rainer: I remember only deleting one of my own comments, because I needed to make a correction.

    For some reason, it's better to first post a new comment with a correction and then delete the old one, instead of first deleting the old comment and attempting to post a new one (which doesn't seem to work).


  6. Nothing personal Rainer, no harm was meant. It's just sometimes I post a tiny comment over a glass of wine, and then it's like – that's got a bit too much prrsonal detail in it. I mean Giuostino was talking about presidents and I end up describing my eye colour and possible genetic disorder. It just doesn't make any sense. Got to watch those glasses of wine 🙂

    PS I do have a life and don't drink too much 🙂

    Any advice, Rainer, how to stop commenting alltogether? Sometimes I just feel I spend way too much time online, since smartphones came along. On the train, during teabreaks, everywhere really whens noone around. Technology is taking over, I'm telling you. I better stop now. 🙂


  7. @Rainer:

    Yea-yea, I remember fleetingly reading those comments and then half-forgetting about them :>


    Well, I don't even have a smartphone..

    It's still nice to learn about someone having something as fascinating as changing eye colour ^_^


  8. By the way, a couple of years back Ilves would have resembled Hollande even more, but it seems Evelin has put him on one of her miracle diets (kapsa ja porgandi otsa).


  9. I'm grateful you commented on my post about swimmin' with bowlegged wimmin, LPR! “… but behind those fruity bosoms (that just make your mind icemelt over with warmth and champagne bubbliness and harp-playing angels …” See, I was getting to the mound of the matter there.


  10. It's called banter, LPR. Brits roll in it too, that's why I like Britain so much, in terms of humour and poking fun at each other we are very much alike. Here, another mystery for Giuostino to crack. 🙂


  11. Indeed, interesting blog. This is another aspect of European Union support. And again it contradicts the story that Estonia is very free market. Providing startups with taxpayers money is definitely not something that Milton Friedman would support. Not that I have a problem with it. If it works and increases Estonian prosperity, all the better. We´ll see if the author of this blog is right.


  12. But isn't this pot of money solely meant for that purpose? There are other pots of money for roads, healthcare, education etc. As far as I know it is firewalled, thus if these businesses fail it has virtually no effect on anything else. Not that I agree with state sponsored venture capitalism, of course. People involved should be made accountable, so that if their 'marvellous' idea, they so strongly believe in, fails, it would be appropriate to send the court sheriffs in to seize their properties, cars, extra pairs of trainers etc, within reason of course 🙂

    But Temetsa, name me a country where 'free market' actually works? Country that doesn't print money, does not exercise protectionism, does not give a 'helping hand' to privileged industries, does not interfere with business on political level? I can't think of one, to be honest 🙂

    Efficiency is the keyword we're looking for, I think. Although in some sectors, in Estonia, you find plenty of it, in others there's room for great improvement.


  13. “But Temetsa, name me a country where 'free market' actually works? Country that doesn't print money, does not exercise protectionism, does not give a 'helping hand' to privileged industries, does not interfere with business on political level? I can't think of one, to be honest :)”

    But Estonia promotes itself as a free market economy, I don´t know about these other countries. Switzerland for example, has, according to certain rankings, one of the most free economies in the world. But it doesn´t promote itself like that, for Switzerland it is almost a natural thing, they were already neoliberal before that word even existed. So there´s not immediately a contradiction between what they claim to be and what they do (and they just voted in favor of a law that restricts ´excessive salaries´.) But for Estonia it`s different. After experiencing years of communism, for Estonia economic liberalism is not just a way to manage the economy, it also has a moral quality in itself.

    But for me it´s not a problem, I just think that this discrepancy between the image of Estonia and what is really going on, is funny (in favor of austerity, but at the same time dependent on big fiscal transfers from the EU, pro free market, but directing a lot of this aid to startups.) Estonia is pragmatic and that is good. I live and work in Estonia, so I want Estonia to be prosperous. I just don´t want this free market image to turn into a justification for a certain distribution of income and wealth.

    Oh, and about printing money: Milton Friedman is the spiritual father of both quantitative easing and helicopter money. His intellectual heirs are now all in favor of central banks pumping loads of money into the economy.


  14. I see. I think what they are trying to do, is to create little 'sampos' all across the country, so that they will take the pressure off the state and traditional wealth generators. But there is a problem. And it's the wealth distribution. If they do not pay decent wages to their office cleaners, dinnerladies etc then these people can't spend on their haircuts, dentistry, gym memberships etc, thus by default contributing towards decline of services industry. It's a catch 22 and a political intervention is needed.

    Oh, by the way, 'helicopter money' is debated in all seriousness in Britain at the moment. Economy over here is so bad at the moment that things thought to be the stuff fit for fantasists only couple of years ago, is entering mainstream economic debate. Estonia should be taking notes, it might learn a thing or two.


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