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Friday, March 29, 2013

Norway: A rare example of a Successful economy

As we end another week here at A&G, we thought we'd shift our attentions from nations who are economic failures and frack-ups (Yes, the word 'frack' is intentional... our swear jar is already filled to capacity after the whole Cyprus fiasco)

So we turn our eyes to northern Europe; a a very beautiful country that admittedly we fell in love with during the 1992 Winter Olympics in Lilyhammer...   Norway.

Norway is the envy of the world: growth is strong, per capita GDP has exceeded $100,000 and the nation sits on a $700 billion rainy day cash reserve, or $140,000 per man, woman and child.

This is due to a combination of Middle East-style oil wealth combined with a generous Nordic welfare model.
What is more interesting than finding a success story amid the the economic rot and sewage which is Europe thanks to the continued existence of the Eurozone, is how others want to portray all Norway's successes as negatives or impediments.

We found a Reuters article last Sunday on this topic entitled, "Sitting on too much money, Norway risks going off course".  Just reading that title made us shake our heads in irritation..

Here's some 'nuggets' from the silly Reuters article..

"It may just be too much money as Norwegians, more keen on leisure and family life are working less and less.  Immigration is not filling the gap in the skilled part of the workforce, so productivity is stagnating, wages are surging and firms are pricing themselves out of their own market."
Isn't that terrible!  Norwegians have more time to spend with their families where its well documented that children are more likely to be raised properly and live healthy, normal lives from a stable two-parent home...

Just awful... Don't they know it would be so much better if they made dramatically less salary, worked longer hours and paid less taxes so there'd be far fewer social services.

And those poor firms!!  Those poor corporations..  Making them pay good wages and 28% corporate tax rate...  Its just so mean!

Why can't these people be miserable, personality-less entertainment-addicted zombies like us, dag-nabbit?!

Continuing...

"Wage costs are up 63 percent since 2000, about six times more than in Germany or Sweden... Unemployment is a barely visible 3 percent as more prefer part time work...

The government recently warned that unless working hours are increased by 10 percent over time, the state will eventually start eating into its savings. The central bank also warned that the welfare model is simply encouraging people to leave the labor market."

Ahh... here's the real Alice In Wonderland 'black is white' Kicker...  Everything that is supposedly to be Good about a nation--  Everything that a nation is supposed to strive for-- extremely low unemployment, good wages, free time to pursue other interests or family bonding, minimal to no poverty, low crime,etc...

Its all treated as 'Bad'.
Banks can't profit off people when times are good.  You want to buy a car or a home.. maybe you take out a loan for 50% the total... or 25%... or pay free and clear... And how can any bank gouge you for 5-30 years then??

How can there be debt slaves when people aren't getting into debt??

And what's the #1 cause for adults over 30 years old getting into severe debt-- enough to end up going bankrupt??   Medical bills.

And how can you make the Nordic people suffer financially if their welfare system takes care of everyone?  Or complain about the drain on the costs to the national economy when so much income is being generated that no one's complaining over the taxes?

See what we mean... gotta follow the dots..
Norway has a budget surplus of 12% of GDP. We in the US as well as most nations in the world are running deficits...  Which is better?   Correct..

In the US as well as most nations, the people serve four purposes-- Work, pay taxes, consume and obey the law...  If they aren't working, you the government can't tax them to death and profit off each person living and breathing...

Few governments will say this openly but its in no one's interest to have a society where productive work is accomplished in 80% the time, leaving endless leisure time for citizens to pursue their dreams or worse have time to actually follow political news.

Governments get away with murder simply because a vast percentage are soooo exhausted mentally and physically from work, they want to watch silly, light fluff on TV to relax them rather than watch or read news.... Just too tiring...
The reason its important to know how government values you is simple-- so that you and we, and everyone in between learn to look at ourselves as Individuals and not accept the Collectivist mindset that the decisions of a few or one affecting us all, is a good thing.

Norway is the economy the world should be tirelessly striving to be like..Instead, with a 'Billy Budd'-like envy (Herman Melville short story about everyone jealous of a genuinely good looking man), the goal is to create warts where none exist..

If/when there's another global crash, it will be nations like Norway and Canada who ride out the storm pretty well in comparison to others...