July 25, 2004

Socialist Worker Paradise

Norway is the socialist worker paradise, paid for by the oil resources. This was just fascinating to me -- the Norwegian worker, excluding vacations, misses 4.8 weeks of work a year. That is stunning. It is said that it costs the government some $12 billion a year to cover the costs. Oh, and by the way, some 50% of the work force is working for the government in some capacity or another. How is this healthy for any society, that no one works and that half your work force is engaged in providing monopolistic social services to the other half? Who produces anything? How do you expect a society to grow, to thrive, to create, to do anything at all?

You cannot, in my view. The problem the Norwegians are now facing, according to the article, is that they are finally being called on this problem as American (you know, the great Satans) are buying or merging with Norwegian companies and not putting up with these practices.

Norwegian intellectuals do not like America or Americans. They are not alone in Europe, of course. But go, if you have a moment, and check out this article by Bjorn Staerk (Bear Strong for you non-Norsk speakers) on the famed Norwegian intellectual who thinks pro-American Norwegians should be put under surveillance and eventually on trial for their crime of supporting America. Truly shocking. I wonder why we bother to have relations at all sometimes with Norway.

Posted by Random Penseur at July 25, 2004 01:47 PM

WHy America bothers? Cause of the oil, baby! Norway is the richest country in the world, and weirdly enough, they save most of the money for future generations, which I always found ironic, seeing as the current generation there could use more funding.

Posted by: Helen at July 26, 2004 03:56 AM

Well, we are by far one of the smaller importers of oil for Norway. According the their Foreign Ministry, Europe takes over 60% and the US about 6%. Norway doesn't make it into our top ten list of oil exporters and barely makes it into the top 15. I'm not sure how you define "richest" country, but I always thought that was Oman or one of the other really small Middle Eastern states. Finally, the oil fund they use to save is not entirely used to save for future generations, I believe some of it is currently spent on government projects. Moreover, I understand that the fund distorts the Norwegian stock market and causes all sorts of investment problems. That said, I think it's great that they are saving. I just wish they'd back away from some of the overt anti-Americanism.

Posted by: RP at July 26, 2004 06:29 AM

I dunno-I have met many Norwegians (living next door to Norway for 4 and a half years helped!) and I found them to be anti-anyone-except-Norwegians. I am not having a go against them, I have no problem with Norwegians, I think that they like being a bit of an insular community (not part of the EU, their independance day is the day they kicked the Swedes out) and just keep to themselves.

Posted by: Helen at July 26, 2004 10:44 AM

Look, they've got oil so they'll be invaded soon anyway.

Posted by: Simon at July 27, 2004 05:29 AM

I will agree that the Norwegian workforce is a bit spoiled, and that does pose some employer issues.

But please... I'm an American living in Norway. Norwegians don't hate America or Americans by any stretch of the imagination. That is simply not true. The US government is pretty universally disliked in Europe, thats for sure... and this expat doesn't care for it either. But to make a statement that Norwegians hate all Americans is ignorant on your part.

Posted by: Murrican at August 19, 2004 07:04 AM

I regret that you did not leave a valid email address so I could correspond with you further on this. Feel free to contact me at the email address I left.

Posted by: RP at August 19, 2004 07:14 AM

I have a few points to make about this issue:

1. Norwegian workers have a lot of rights which US workers don't have. We don't have to work for $5.15 an hour. In fact, the lowest pay per hour you can get in Norway (legally) as an 18 year old with little or no education, is 77 NOK or $12.28. However, few get paid as little as that. The common per hour pay is about $16 or more. Washing floors can get you $18.66 or more an hour.
In the South of the US there are 250,000 illegal Mexican & other Lat.-Am. workers who get paid salaries WELL under your $5.15 bar.
I think it is best to treat your workers like humans, rather than treat them like slaves.

2. Most Norwegians dislike ANY foreign company that buys Norwegian companies. It's not like Norwegians are alone about this. I've heard US citizens grumble about job losses to China and "foreigners meddling in our business" for months.

3. If Norwegians are anti-American, then US citizens are surely anti-European. At times, I have read nothing but negative, incorrect, hateful remarks and articles about Europe (which by the way is presented as though it was a country) and Europeans. I've felt so much hate it's unbeliebable, and the hateful, bigoted, hypocritical lies about Europe have come like a monsun over Sumatra.

4. The richest country in the world is Luxembourg, but Norway is perhaps at a 2nd place.

Posted by: Erik at January 18, 2005 04:30 AM

But what's interesting is how few rights Norwegian employers have to actually terminate employment. How come no one ever cares about that?

Posted by: RP at January 18, 2005 07:59 AM
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