Old boy network (Finland)

Old Boy Network (Finland)

Old boy network (Finland)

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In Finland, the Finnish term hyvä veli -verkosto (literally dear brother network) is used to refer to the alleged informal network of men in high places whose members use their influence to pervert or circumvent official decision-making processes to the members' mutual benefit. As such, the term is pejorative.

The term derives from the salutation "Hyvä veli!", or "Dear brother!", traditionally used to open a letter to a not quite intimate friend. The implication is that since the élites of all fields are drawn from a fairly small pool of people who are mostly more or less acquainted with each other, they can and often do manage public and private affairs amongst themselves, off the record, and outside public scrutiny as they like. As the word brother implies, the network is usually presumed to be a male affair, and thus the term is also sometimes used to refer to the marginalization of women and their exclusion from high office in both the public and private spheres. There's an equivalent term, hyvä sisko ('dear sister'), used in reference to informal networks of women in high places.

President Urho Kekkonen was notable for directly communicating with senior officials (past his cabinet) by means of letters, which famously began with the salutation "Hyvä veli". These have been published in three volumes. This practice exceeded his official powers, but he exercised his informal influence.

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