That can be interpreted differently ;)

Discussion in 'Norway' started by Joey7F, Jun 6, 2002.

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  1. Joey7F Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2000
    star 4
    Hey guys,

    I thought you would get a kick out of this.

    There are a series of books called "Culture Shock!: Life in ________". It is mostly for people who are going to spend lots of time in a particular country. It includes things like standard of living, social / political issues, differences between your country and the target country.

    Anyway, so in Norway's "Culture Shock" they write something like this:

    "Norway has one of the comprehensive social programs of any country. As a result the much of the nation's wealth is distributed fairly and evenly. They have created one of the most classless societies in the western world.

    :p

    Anyway, though you all would get a kick out of it.

    --Joey
  2. Machine Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Nov 4, 2001
    star 1
  3. Karoline Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 18, 2001
    star 4
    There are poor people in Norway, actually. We do make a lot of money on oil, but little of it ever makes it out to the people. It goes directly into a fund, the now infamous "oljefondet". There are about 600 billion NOK in there (please correct me if I'm wrong, it's been a while since I bothered to watch political discussions), and still, teachers, nurses and the people that work for the government are yet to have decent salaries.
    They say that they are saving the money in oljefondet for when we eventually run out of oil, but we are one of the few countries in the world to even have such a fund! The other countries have managed very well without one. :mad: Oil money to the people! :p
  4. Joey7F Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2000
    star 4
    There are poor people in every country. They were just saying that Norwegian income gaps are not as noticeable as in other countries.

    Economic Equality doesn't mean everyone is well off, in fact most of the time, it means the opposite.

    We have poor people in the United States. In fact I am volunteering on the weekends to help some of them learn to use the internet.

    I will use some Norwegian sites to demonstrate the World Wide nature of the net.


    --Joey
  5. Adali-Kiri Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2000
    star 4
    Joey is absolutely right! Norway is one of the very best countries to live in, and we practically have no class system - compared to places like Great Britain. This is not BS, it's the truth. And Norwegians have very little reason to complain about much. Which does not mean that everyone is doing great, of course. But the bottom line is that you'd still rather be poor by Norwegian standards than by Romanian standards, etc.

    Although, the more time passes and the more money we have - the more we complain... [face_plain]

    It is true that the Oil Fund is up at about 600 Billion NOK. But even as incredible as that sounds - it is NOT NEARLY enough to take care of just ONE of our "problems"; pensions in the foreseeable future. In 20 years time, Norway will be an increasingly ageing country - less and less people will be working (ie creating welfare etc), and more and more people will need social care, health care and pensions. As this happens, we will be needing every little bit of the fund to help ease the load off our worker's shoulders - which means US, boys and girls. And we will also need to get more immigration, because there won't be enough working people here.

    This is money we will need when times get tough, and they'll be spent in no time.
  6. LightForce Jedi Padawan

    Member Since:
    May 21, 2002
  7. Joey7F Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2000
    star 4
    They flip side of that Adali, is that if you continue to create dependents on the system, you will need an unending stream of immigrants to support the older population.

    We are facing a similar situation with what we call "Social Security". Current workers pay a stipend to the elderly, with the expectation that they will be taken care of when they are older. The problem is, that people on it now, have not paid in what they are taking out. We have babyboomers (people born just after World War II ended) retiring in force without a workforce able to support them. The next few years will be VERY interesting!

    Back to the Norwegian immigrant situation. If this happens, you will see resentment between the young "real" norwegians, and the immigrants.

    Norway has such a unique situation in that the population is very homogenous, ethnically, religiously, culturally etc.

    While immigration is good to add "flavor" to a country you stand to risk losing the strength of national unity and national identity.

    For example, it would be a bad idea to allow tons of British and Americans into Norway. Even though you all are very culturally aware/savvy, it would take away from your traditions and culture.

    I hear there are some problems with Muslims starting to feel resentful about not being allowed to create a school in Oslo.

    I firmly believe the key strategy for diffusing this problem is quick assimilation.

    Americans complain equally much btw. I complain on a weekly basis when I see how much Uncle Same rips out of my pay check.

    --Joey

    Edit: Changed for privacy.
  8. Adali-Kiri Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2000
    star 4
    Hmmm, I'm not sure if I understand what you mean, Joey. As long as our population is aging we will need more money and work force to take care of them. So planning for future challenges must be a good thing! The ageing of Norway can only be stopped by 2 things - 1) Norwegians need to make more children - which will not happen, or 2) We need more immigration. Integration is another issue, but saving money and increasing immigration (or starting a babyboom) are ways of taking care of our elders.
  9. Joey7F Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2000
    star 4
    Yes but you can't continue that forever. That is a temporary solution. The only way to truly solve that problem is slow drift away from large scale (and expensive) government programs.

    Immigration can be positive. Maybe Norway should institute a policy of mandatory Norwegian Language/Culture/History classes on all prospective immigrants. The United States should definitely do that!

    --Joey
  10. Jedi_DaMap Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jan 26, 2002
    star 1
    Do you know, that a Norwegian reporter once asked one of the leading norwegian politicians, that maybe, since Norway is such a wealthy country, maybe we could delete(?) the 3-world debt owed to Norway, but he answered, and i quote: "That is impossible, because it would disturb all of the international economy." !!!!!!!!!!
  11. Joey7F Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2000
    star 4
    The 3rd World debt should not be forgiven unless

    1. It is insignificant
    2. The country is a democracy.

    I am convinced that democracy is the only way of stabilizing a country.

    Norway is 4th on the per capita income list behind Luxembourg, United States, and Switzerland. (The incomes are in that order btw)

    I think Luxembourg is so high because of relaxed tax laws.

    Norway was voted best country to live in in 2001 :)

    --Joey
  12. Adali-Kiri Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2000
    star 4
    I still don't understand how abandoning so called large-scale government programs (do you mean pensions and health care?) will give us money and work force to take care of a steadily aging population...
  13. Joey7F Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2000
    star 4
    If you pay for pensions health care and etc. for the elderly it makes sense that you will need to take the money from the younger, working, population.

    In doing that, you make it harder for young people such as myself (though in my case we are talking about the United States) to become self sufficient.

    I am going to try to save up my money for that reason. If you always assume "the government will take care of me" what reason do you have to really struggle to build wealth?

    It sounds like both countries need to re-examine how best to plan for retirement.

    Privatization is one option I would like to see explored. I think I can get a better return on my money through mutual funds and stocks than the government can get me :)

    --Joey
  14. Karoline Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 18, 2001
    star 4
    Wohoo, a political discussion!

    I agree with Joey on the 3rd world debt issue, it should only be forgiven if it is too significant for a democratic country to develop. Why make it easier on dictators?

    And YES, we should privatizise (er.. spelling?). That way, the government can get rid of things that it doesn't have to fund and focus its resources on things like education and hospitals (things like that shouldn't be privatizised, in my opinion). I'm not completely aware of what the government owns and does not own, but in most cases, like the privatization of NSB, we get rid of the monopoly, the company gets some competition and the prices get pressed down.


    In my opinion, privatization is the solution, and then they should give the oilmoney to the people ;)
  15. Joey7F Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2000
    star 4
    I agree with Karoline. As much of a fan as I am of private sector taking the initiative to provide services, there are a few things that the government must provide. Education is one of them!

    Though I don't have a problem with private schools competing with public ones.

    Competition drives prices down and quality up. Without it we would never progress.

    Woohoo Democracy for everyone!

    To be technical, very few countries have "true" democracies (though I believe Iceland might or do they just have the oldest democracy?) where the citizens do not elect representatives, they represent themselves.

    --Joey
  16. dod Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Apr 16, 2002
    star 1
    1: I hate political issues.
    2: Im getting interested in this debate...

    I belive USA and Norway are wery similar in many ways. These two (and possibly many more) contries have some of the same problems.

    I think we have to think different, not only here and ther, but change the whole system as one unit. If we had a system capable of:
    1: actually listen to the people
    2: making important judgements in political debates
    3: putting mony where it is needed, both to balance the contry economicaly, and to balance the ever growing difference between the rich and the poor.

    I dont think this generation will do this. Maybe not the next, either. But eventualy changes will have to occur.

    Now the politicians decide to build an opera at a cost of about 13 mrd nok. And of course, we have to pay. Im not sure, but i think it will be about 800 nok for everybody in Norway. Only so some of the richest people can se a couple of old fat women screem. (no, I dont like the opera...)

    Still, each day we see old people not having a place to stay. For once, Carl I. Hagen ( a norwegian politician) said something smart, he said they should make new retirement homes, enough so the pople could have a room for them selve. ( he said he had calculated that it would be enough money, too.)

    If it would be possible, I would have choosen the Comunism system.(My spelling aint what it used to be...) It is based on the idea that everybody has the same economy, there are no rich or poor. Sadly, this is not possible, becouse we are humans, and human natur does not allow this kind of systems, we are simply to egoistic.

    So, whats better than using a republic, like in starwars? There are probabley many failiures in this system to, but I dont know of many of them.

    Hey, I dont wnat to offend anybody, this is my point of wiew, and like a wise person once said, the truth we rely on is based on a certaint point of view.
  17. Joey7F Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2000
    star 4
    Ahh communism? Really? That has never and will never work for the reasons you mentioned.

    It sounds like you just favor socialism. So if that is your mindset, you should love tax increases :p

    Freedom (financial and liberty) for me, thanks! :)

    --Joey
  18. Adali-Kiri Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2000
    star 4
    Well, Joey is a true American for sure... ;)

    Just one thing - competition does NOT automatically lead to lower prices and higher quality. It's just not that easy. Take a look at costs and quality of domestic flights in Norway after years of "competition". Another one; the monopoly on Taxi services in Oslo was lifted just a few years ago, for the very reason you guys mention. What happened? Prices promptly shot through the roof. Or what if you want to see the World Cup on TV? Free competition has assured it will cost you a fortune.

    I know what you're saying people, but it's not as simple as that. 2 shops sitting side by side on a street don't automatically mean lower prices. It might just as well mean the 2 find it's better for them (financially) to adjust their prices to each other to make as much money as possible. Some of you seem to ignore that at the core of private initiativ sits a want to make as much money as possible.

    I mean, look at the Health Care system and Railways of the UK...
    I can elaborate if any of you are interested.
  19. Joey7F Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2000
    star 4
    If two stores adjust their prices in order to make more money for each other, then that is not free enterprise. That is illegal (at least in the US it is).

    Railways are usually a monopoly therefore must be regulated...same with power companies and etc.

    Ideally, 4 or 5 equally sized companies would be offering the same service.

    Yes private industry wants to make as much money as possible, but government wants to be as big as possible. I prefer a large company to a large government anyday, though neither is preferable :).

    And yes I am a true American, my favorite colors are red white and blue...though yours might be as well for a (slightly) different reason ;)

    So US, UK, Norway, France and who else has red white and blue as the colors that make of their flag?

    --Joey
  20. Karoline Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 18, 2001
    star 4
    Communism is -in theory- a wonderful idea. Equal rights, supplies and services for all. Ideally, we'd even have no need for money, because everybody would contribute to keep the society running through labour. But, as you say, it doesn't work in practise because we want more than just the basics in our lives. I know I wouldn't settle for just the basics after having worked all my life, I have ambitions to what I want with my life; I intend to retire filthy rich. With communism, that wouldn't happen, would it?
    And just consider for a seckond what Mao managed to do in his communist- regime. Corruption is very easy because very few people have all the power, and that can turn very, very nasty.

    I'll have to agree with Joey in the end; freedom for me as well, thank you very much.

    As for the flag; I think russia also have the red, white and blue. Not too sure about that, however (and too lazy to look it up).


    So competition doesn't automatically lead to lower prices, but in a monopoly, the firm in question can do whatever the hell it wants. That's not good either.
    I wonder if we have a law like the one Joey is talking about? We really should!
  21. Joey7F Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2000
    star 4
    I could not have said it better myself. Well put :) Fiscal communism and social libertarianism is actually the best in theory governing style.

    I am putting away about 30000nrk this summer for retirement so I can get a head jump on being filthy, stinkin, rich...well 2 out of 3 ain't bad! :p

    --Joey

    Edit: I heard an interesting saying about theories.

    "In theory, there is no difference between actuality and theory"


  22. Adali-Kiri Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Jul 31, 2000
    star 4
    Hehe...

    An ideological debate on TFN ... whaddaya know ... ;)

    Certainly, neither free competition nor monopoly will work without some sort of regulation. I've never believed Communism would work - it is depending on humans to do so, you know. But I'm neither as liberal as Joey or as socialist as Joey thinks I am, hehe. ;)

    Oh, the Netherlands have red, white and blue in their flag too! :)
  23. Joey7F Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2000
    star 4
    I think I have you pegged fairly accurately.

    It is just that someone like Karoline is probably considered extremely conservative by European standards, right?

    I am considered fairly conservative by American standards.

    You are considered maybe slightly left of center by Norwegian standards.

    Does that sound about right?

    On a scale of 1 to 10. (1 - Ultra Liberal and 10 - Ultra Conservative)

    From a certain point of view (norway)

    Adali 4.5
    Karoline 8.5
    Joey 9.0

    From an certain point of view (USA)

    Adali 2.5
    Karoline 7.5
    Joey 8.0

    I based this completely unsubstantiated, half-assed :p, random guess work on what I have talked to the both of you about over the past few months :D

    What do you think? Am I way off or am I eerily accurate?

    --Joey

    I take it you use liberal in the classic context?


  24. Karoline Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Sep 18, 2001
    star 4
    "In theory, there is no difference between actuality and theory" [face_laugh]

    You might be right about the rating- thing, we are indeed conservatives. But I think there are a lot of conservatives in this country when it comes down to it.
  25. Joey7F Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 18, 2000
    star 4
    Norway can afford to be more liberal because it has a small population. I don't mind local tax hikes if it means better roads, better schools and etc.

    Federal taxes however... ;)

    I think a lot of it gets wasted by pushing papers from one bureaucracy to another.

    I get the feeling that Norwegians have (or had?) (especially outside of the bigger cities) a do-it-yourself attitude of rugged individualism much like the US has (had?)

    Do you hear many complaints about taxes?

    --Joey
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