Abstract: A Cross-Class Alliance in the Making: Finnish Employers and the Emerging Welfare State in 1950s and 1960s

Jussi Vauhkonen


This paper deals with the role of Finnish employers in the development of the welfare state in Finland. Based on archival sources of employer associations, the paper argues for a cross-class alliance perspective. In addition, employer's labour market strategy is studied through the concept of "social" and its definitions. Finnish employers relied in the 1930s on a cross-class alliance aligning interests of industries and agrarian producers. This alliance crumbled away in the 1940s. In the 1950s, the Finnish employers tried to compensate for the lack of an effective cross-class alliance by strengthening their strategy of corporate welfarism. They failed. There was no chance of framing all social politics within social programs of the employers. But after the emergence of a new alliance in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the labour market goals could be achieved by other measures, too. The corporate welfarism did continue for some time, but by the late 1960s its days were over. Part of the welfare measures was now taken care of by the state with the support and blessing of the labour market parties, and another part by the municipalities. And last but not least, some parts were taken care of by markets.