Category Archives: Norway

Norway’s oil wealth swamps innovation

It has had a bit of a shock in the past two years. The electronic ticker on the side of one Oslo bank shows only the price of Brent crude, the best guide to the country’s financial health. Its fall since 2014 has hurt Norway’s trade balance and made the government tap the sovereign wealth fund’s capital by $27.7bn, or $5,330 per citizen, to fill its budget hole this fiscal year.

Another sign of stress is the recommendation this week by a committee of experts that the sovereign wealth fund should invest more in equities, taking higher financial risks to raise its expected rate of return. The global fall in bond yields means that Norway’s energy wealth will not earn as much as its people once expected.

The oil fund is exemplary in many ways: by taking the wealth largely out of the hands of the government and directing it into overseas investment, Norway has avoided the worst of Dutch disease. But it adds to the sense of the country having a cushion against change: the fund’s very existence extends its deadline to reshape the economy.

The citizens are also cushioned. The government devotes the equivalent of 20 per cent of “mainland” GDP — the output of the non-energy economy — to social benefits, and Norwegians work 80 per cent of average hours in OECD countries, the equivalent of one less day a week. The energy sector is highly paid and productive but productivity growth elsewhere has lagged behind.

via Norway’s oil wealth swamps innovation

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Ο λόγος του Βασιλιά… | TVXS – TV Χωρίς Σύνορα

Οι Νορβηγοί είναι κορίτσια που αγαπούν κορίτσια, αγόρια που αγαπούν αγόρια, και αγόρια και κορίτσια που αγαπιούνται μεταξύ τους. Πιστεύουν στο Θεό, στον Αλλάχ, στα πάντα και σε τίποτα. Με άλλα λόγια, είστε η Νορβηγία. Είμαστε η Νορβηγία.

Όταν τραγουδάμε τον εθνικό ύμνο, θυμόμαστε ότι τον τραγουδάμε ο ένας για τον άλλο, επειδή εμείς είμαστε αυτή η χώρα.

Η μεγαλύτερη μου ελπίδα για τη Νορβηγία είναι ότι θα καταφέρουμε να φροντίσουμε ο ένας τον άλλον.

Ότι μπορούμε να βασιζόμαστε σε εμπιστοσύνη, αλληλεγγύη και γενναιοδωρία. Ώστε να νιώθουμε ότι παρά τις διαφορές μας, είμαστε ένας λαός»

via Ο λόγος του Βασιλιά… | TVXS – TV Χωρίς Σύνορα

Private debt in Europe – Debtors’ prison | The Economist

High household debt helps explain why the Netherlands, along with Italy and Spain, remained in recession in the second quarter of 2013 even as the euro area in general embarked on recovery. Dutch GDP this year will be 2% lower than in 2011 and more than 3% below its previous peak, in 2008. Though this loss of output is dwarfed by that suffered in southern Europe, it illustrates the malign effect of high debt when house prices fall—recent declines have been close to those in Spain. That has pushed a quarter of Dutch homeowners into “negative equity”: their houses are worth less than their mortgages.

via Debtors’ prison | The Economist.

New Statesman – Anders Breivik is not a madman

 

[…] The roots of Breivik’s actions clearly lie in his politics, and when you read his ‘manifesto’, it is clear why he decided to act as he did. His argument runs thus: Multiculturalism, ‘cultural Marxism’ and immigration of Muslims is destroying our way of life. The people responsible for this are the ruling Labour Party. These people are traitors. I have tried to act politically, but that has yielded no reward, and little hope of doing so. Violence is the only solution. Therefore, kill the next generation of political Labour Party leaders. This is a necessary evil, but will save us from the greater murderousness of Islam in the long run.

 

And, in a brutally logical way, that is just what Breivik did. Those who he slaughtered, such as Hanne Kristine Fridtun and Tore Eikeland, were indeed future political luminaries, people who Breivik felt were traitors and would lead his country into the supposed darkness of Islamic domination. In his ‘manifesto’ Breivik suggests that his ‘”Justiciar Knights” would need to kill some 200,000 “category A and B traitors” in order to “break the historical ‘Marxist vs. Conservative’ cycle or we risk that the cultural Marxists will emerge as a dominating force again after 20-100 years”. Breivik’s thinking is, of course, twisted and evil. But it is not mad, and he is not unique. […]

via New Statesman – Anders Breivik is not a madman.

Norway’s Oil Fund: Is it Realizing its Full Potential? | Michael Hudson

The financial climate has changed radically from when Norway’s Oil Fund was established in 1990. Norway has built up its savings since then by selling enormous quantities of oil and gas, and employing many thousands of workers. By coincidence, an even larger sum of $600 billion recently has been created overnight – electronically on computer keyboards, by the U.S. Federal Reserve Board as part of Chairman Ben Bernanke’s Quantitative Easing policy (QE2). This money has been provided to spur bank liquidity, in hope that they can earn their way out of the losses they suffer from their bad mortgage loans and other gambles.

The aim of these banks is the same as that of Norway’s Oil Fund: to make money. As the financial press has noticed, nearly the entire $600 billion has been sent abroad – to the BRIC countries and raw materials exporters in strong balance-of-payments positions, whose economies are not as “loaned up” as those of the United States and Europe, where Norway invests most of its money. So while Norway is putting its money into these countries, their financial managers are jumping ship – sending electronic dollars and euros to the economies that use their own sovereign wealth funds in the opposite way from what Norway is doing

via Norway’s Oil Fund: Is it Realizing its Full Potential? | Michael Hudson.