Company member Mark Jacob Chaitin brought this piece of news to our attention:
Thriving Norway Offers a Lesson in Frugality
By LANDON THOMAS Jr.
New York Times
May 13, 2009
The global financial crisis has brought low the economies of just about every country on earth. But not Norway. With a quirky contrariness as deeply etched in the national character as the fjords carved into its rugged landscape, Norway has thrived by going its own way. When others splurged, it saved. When others sought to limit the role of government, Norway strengthened its cradle-to-grave welfare state.
And in the midst of the worst global downturn since the Depression, Norway’s economy grew last year by just under 3 percent. The government enjoys a budget surplus of 11 percent and its ledger is entirely free of debt. By comparison, the United States is expected to chalk up a fiscal deficit this year equal to 12.9 percent of its gross domestic product and push its total debt to $11 trillion, or 65 percent of the size of its economy....
Instead of spending its riches lavishly, it passed legislation ensuring that oil revenue went straight into its sovereign wealth fund, state money that is used to make investments around the world. Now its sovereign wealth fund is close to being the largest in the world....
Eirik Wekre, an economist who writes thrillers in his spare time, describes Norwegians’ feelings about debt this way: “We cannot spend this money now; it would be stealing from future generations.” Mr. Wekre, who paid for his house and car with cash, attributes this broad consensus to the country’s iconoclasm. “The strongest man is he who stands alone in the world,” he said, quoting Norwegian playwright Henrik Ibsen.
Enemy of the People runs May 4-30, 2009
Tickets are available through our website!