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If Norway Can Pull it Off …

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Alberta is often compared to Norway, another oil-rich economy. A reader of my site, AlbertaLife, who recently moved to Alberta, has sent me the following information on the Norwegian economy:

The Norwegian economy is a prosperous bastion of welfare capitalism, featuring a combination of free market activity and government intervention. The government controls key areas, such as the vital petroleum sector (through large-scale state enterprises). The country is richly endowed with natural resources – petroleum, hydropower, fish, forests, and minerals – and is highly dependent on its oil production and international oil prices, with oil and gas accounting for one-third of exports.

Norway contributes sizably to the EU budget. With arguably the highest quality of life worldwide, Norwegians still worry about that time in the next two decades when the oil and gas will begin to run out. Accordingly, Norway has been saving its oil-boosted budget surpluses in a Government Petroleum Fund, which is invested abroad and now is valued at more than $150 billion.

The reader then goes on:

[I] am shocked at the amount of poor people and those left out of the economy.

Norway has about 1 million more residents than Alberta. Virtually an identical economy. Albertas GNP last year was 150 billion. Norway’s was 180 billion.

The thing I find absolutely incredible is that [Norway] is a welfare state and contributes billions a year to the EU while at the same time it has managed to put aside 150 billion as a fund when the oil runs out! It also looks after its [responsibilities as a country] and we aren’t just talking about provincial!!

I have been to Norway and I can tell you first hand that people live a much much better life than Albertans. Has Klein really done a good job?

Well, dear reader, the answer to that would be: No, he hasn’t. As a taxi driver recently told me, given Alberta’s economic situation, you could have put a monkey in the premier’s office, and even that monkey would have had a hard time trying to mess things up. He also mentioned that if Klein had been premier of a province like Saskatchewan, he would have failed miserably.

Putting money aside for a rainy day is what any smart, intelligent and sensible person does. For a province, it makes even more sense. However, Klein has been wasting money like a federal Liberal (or a drunken sailor, as some Albertans tend to say more and more often these days), and it is only now, after much pressure from the opposition parties such as the Alberta Liberals, that Klein has finally decided to put $1 billion towards the Heritage Fund.

Let’s be blunt here: Alberta is rich, but it could be filthy rich, if we had played our cards right. Unfortunately, relying on Klein’s stewardship of the province was a bad hand to play. Several insiders have been saying that the waste on Klein’s watch could rival any money stolen in the sponsorship scandal if there ever were an investigation or if a different party came to power and started digging through the paperwork.

As for poverty in Alberta, the reader is absolutely right: most Albertans never get to participate in the province’s wealth. More than 40% of the people living in the Edmonton-Calgary corridor, supposedly one of the world’s most prosperous regions, make less than $20,000 a year. For a rich province like Alberta, such a number is shameful and directly reflects upon Klein’s lousy job.

Infrastructure is crumbling, hospital beds are in short supply, and the number of homeless people in the streets of Calgary has been rising fast. Does that sound like a success story?

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About Werner Patels

  • If Alberta is supposedly so poor, why only blame the Provincial leadership? What about the federal leadership?

  • typen

    Lots of problems here in Norway as well. Incredible things is that while the GOVERNMENT is rich there are still a lot of people who could be BETTER OFF and whose economis arent that good.

    Some of that money should be spent on better roads for example (much better roads in Alberta) or CONSERVATOION of wilderness ( basically no such thing in Norway).

    Ive been to Alberta..I like it a lot more than Norway, take care.
    Typen, Oslo

  • Jan N. Malde

    Re : If Norway can pull it off.

    We have a new Leftist Radical Government now, and I tried to warn CNN and BBC World to cover our Election Run-up to no prevail. If you’re so convinced that Our Economy is Solid, this may not be the case when these Redgreens are being kicked out Nose First in about 41 1/2 months from now. Despite our Oil-riches we do have a Quarter of a Million POOR people in addition to another quarter of a million who struggles to get ends meet. Key word is Taxes upteen times and a sizable amont of them too.

    For my own interest I have studied Currency Rates since the early fifties when Deutsche Mark was 1,30 to a Krone, but since September, after the new Government was established I’ve figured out that the rate of the Krone has declined by a solid 10% versus most other currencies, including Thai Baht and Philippine Pesos. When I go back in Currency History it all matches, or fits like a hand in a glove. There ain’t no doubt that our newly elected Amateur Government is very unable to govern us, thus I thought that the Monkey I started to read about was a Member of our Government. Sorry I got you wrong there, because in my view a Monkey could do better than those we pay to serve us. I thought THAT’s what you meant. Hopefully Canada will monitor the next Election, because the Progress Party will be the next winner or you may call me a Mule. OK ? I’m serious about this. Have a terrific Day. Greetings from a Snowbird to the Philippines. I can’t afford living in Norway any more, and I’ve told them so when Campaigning for the Local Election September 2003, so they KNOW their Value – hardly a bottle of Beer. Jan.

  • Morty

    The worst thing about Norway though, is all the Norwegians constantly complaining, not knowing the first thing about what being poor really means…

  • BJ

    OK, so Norway has a lot of money in the bank. But so what? Having money in the bank is great, it wonderful, but when you can’t take part it, then it has nothing to say how much money there is in the bank. There is a lot of great things with Norway, and I’m thanksful for living here, but there is also a lot of things that are not so great. And realise that, even though Norway is one of the rihcest contries in the world it’s not always so great living here.

    People can say that norwegians are whining. That’s ok. But even thoug Norway hasen’t got the same poverty as i several contries i Afrika, South Amerika and so on, it doesn’t mean that norwegian don’t know what it’s means to be poor. Norway has a poverty that exclud people from the rest of the society.

  • Gjermund E. Jansen

    Well, as another Norwegian i have to disagree with my fellow countryman on most of his views. The red-green government have only been in office since September 2005 and he is already blaming them for everything but the plague. The welfare state as we know it was created by the Labour Party and the principle on which the Petroleum Fund was going to be administered was put on paper by the current Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg who is a trained economist.

    As for the Progress Party winning the next election and coming to power, I very much doubt it, as of today. They are very much treated as a pariah cast amongst the other rightwing parties and are very much blamed for the previous government’s election failure.

  • Josehp

    Morty, that is true, but its a shame that people live on the streets in Norway. Its a shame that drug addicts “own” the main street in our capitol,Oslo, and that you cant walk this street at night without being approached by several prostitutes. Norway do afford to talk care of our poor people, but we dont. Even with a Labour government. It`s a shame for our country that we cant take care of our elders. Its a shame that people have to sleep in the corridors at our hospitals. But youre right we dont know what real poverty is, at least not 99% of us.

  • The Progress Party of Norway is anti-immigration, anti-EU, pro-privatization, and pro-US, right?

    If so, they sound like good people to me!

  • Jan N. Malde

    To Morty.

    What do you know about our History as a previous very poor country ?? The Problem is not shortage of money. It is how we share it. We who built up the country after the War are the losers in this sense and it gives us the right to complain lots about the egoism of the younger generations who didn’t have to chose between career and/ or the right to education. If we got back to School after saving up for our education, we were met with the income of our father being too steep to allow a Free Government Scholarship and indeed a Loan as well. For myself, I had to accept a Loan from an Insurance Policy that costed med 12.000 to pay just 11 months after completing school for the cash advance of only 5.000 paid out in 6 portions of 800+, so Yes, I do have the right to complain when I even had to pay for R/B at home despite my Dad’s proposed high income, which in my case didn’t help me any. Yeah, and I even had to pay for Health Insurance … out of WHAT ???

    Now I’m Retired after 20 years at Sea, then with an unsuccessful attemt to use my skills ashore, as the attitude of Civil Clerics don’t allow the Seafarers to throw their anchors on dry land, but surpress and prefer Family & Friends where a Mind is of no importance, thus they neglect lots of Founders and Inventors the same way, because it’s Fiscal Taxes Norway is going to live off for the Future. This is in other words survival of the Old Communism as we know it, where praise for Mao, Stalin, Pol Pot and those have their own representatives in Government to sustain the life of this Legacy at any cost, and that’s why it looks as if they incert a Token in some of the Fans of this Attitude from time to another. And that’s also why they wave their arms to get riddens of that annoying Progress Party who will one day reveil the Truth about their incompetance and massive lies.

  • Jan N. Malde

    To Gjermund :

    It is very common for the Labor Party Supporters to talk about Yesterday. ANY Government with a Respect for what needed to be done after the War would need to rebuild. If you go back to the Depression and glance, ask yourself, were there built many houses in those years ?? Imagine it was as late as 1937 they closed the socalled Home for the Poor.

    Some don’t read our History, and Some don’t have the ability to understand what they’re reading about. Thus they believe the Marshall Aid was a Free Lump of Money from a caring USA. NO, it was in fact a Loan, whereof Norway as one of the FEW has paid off her Foreign Debt of over 300 Billion Kroner, which we were reminded of at all occasions, the amount equalled to 2.000 months of Rent for my Dad.

    Yes, it’s True that the Redgreens have been in Office for just 6 months as I write this, but in a Historical View they deserve to be listed in the Guinness’ Book of Records for the amount of Blunders commited in such a short period of time, and you will see this best viewed in the Currency Rates Graphs, thus falling MORE than 10% only since the end of September 2005. Check it out and you tell me if that’s a Coincident !! Does this best describe the Economic Skills or is it describing what we call a “Broiler” ??

    It is a fact that Labor Party Supporters come up with Zero Substance, Nothing to describe what’s wrong with Progress Party Politics, just a lot of Personnal Attacks, Rude Remarks and thus they also describe us as Underdeveloped, Uneducated and the works. Then how come we’re always first in line to develope New Ideas, while your own Machinery appears to be off the track since the days you had a 74% support from the Polls. What happened to Solidarity and all those Ideas you used to Parade for at Labor Day ? Forgot that ??

    It is a Direct Result of Your Neglectance to Include everyone in the ongoing Partying in what they call the Richest Nation in the World, where those who have PAID all their lives, including the Pension Premium for Seamen that they just nicked from us, and when you need something in return they can just say WE CAN’T AFFORD IT, or they ask you to crack the Piggiebank of your Kids. What Moral can we teach our children after doing that ? And if you should need an Operation that Our Precious Country declines to give you, and you wish to pay for this abroad by mortgaging your Home, then they will say “Shame on you, because you steal from your heirs”. Says WHO ?? NO, we should Thank the Almighty to get riddens of the Old System, compareable to Albania, North Korea and Belarus. We don’t want any more of this. 50 years is sufficient for us.

  • Jan N. Malde

    To BJ & Joseph & R. J. Elliot.

    I tried to have BBC World and the CNN to cover our last Election to no prevail. Distant countries along with Sports of no interest to me must be of greater importance obviously.

    I’m not even sure if our Government knows excactly how many inhabitants we are, because they said we were 6 millions, then later we were just 5, then 4,6 and recently we were 4,55, and may I ask : “Sure they all stood still when you counted them” ?? With a National Budget that since long superceded 100 Billion US $ for this small Nation, additionally 150 Million Dollars per day is pumped up from our Offshore Installations, and yet another 75 Million Dollars a day in Oil Revenue Taxes is pumped into our Common Piggie Bank, that I imagine must be some kind of a Monster in Size. And as if that ain’t enough, we are beyond compareance the World’s most taxated Population, and it’s here I will include your comments about those who are not permitted to participate in what they brag of is a kind of Unique Welfare State.

    But if you uncover the veil over your eyes and glare at Dubai, Kuwait, Bahrain and such, and you imagine what their Oil can buy. They have a lot of foreign workers, but they’re there on a contract of around 500 US $ a month and no such rights for citicenship as we refer to as given away as a Bingo Prize. Referring to the current Debates on the Failed Integration, we would have had no Racial Problems or other related to a Work Force if we copied the Ideas of the Arab States rather than Copying French Failures. If you Study History, The French have a similar amount of Failures as that of Norway’s Labor Party. Is that a Coincident ?? So which do we want, French Fries or French Conditions ?? Is it not strange, that the once so immence Poor Finland, now is Best in Class ?? Why can the Finns, while we who have raised so many capacities can not ?? It puzzles me so much that I could suffer from Sleeplessness !!!

  • Gjermund Jansen

    To Jan Malde

    You have just done what you have accused labour Party supporters of doing, hurling accusations and constructed opinions of what some people might think of you, and you haven’t mentioned one new idea that the progressive party has come up with.

    Is buying a car for personal use with the taxpayers’ money a trustworthy thing to do? You should think that a parliamentarian salary + bonus north of kr600000 ($100000) is sufficient to buy a nice car on your own salary don’t you think?

  • Jan N. Malde

    I have not done any injust accusations at all. We all know these accusations are justified after two whole generations of rediculous and wasted politics which Labor is totally to credit for. Alternatives by the Progress Party can be to your disposal at http://www.frp.no website if you do not know that.To mention all of their ideas takes a whole book.

    However, what you’re mentioning is typical for your fans, because the funds you’re talking about are the funds our Parliament hands out to every party for their disposal. Nothing wrong in that, except for the fact that I suspect they do have some problems over rules for how to spend it, which they’ve finally come to terms with, and thus the Progress Party will follow the rules they have now finally established. As we all know, Politics are paid quarrels with our tax money, and as such I want you to focus on the whole idea of Public Spendings, like should they have so much money at their disposal in the first place ? Once they got their hands on that money, we know it’s out of our control to say the least.

    To specify what I mean, it’s like what people see important to spend money on, like if you want a car while the neighbor wants a lawnmover or an education for the kids. So it goes with the Political parties too, only rules now may be seen as a dictation, and that’s why the Progress Party declined to vote for the proposal, stating they would produce their own proposal to vote for. In other words, you don’t seem to focus on the real problem here which is overspending from every one of the political parties because they’re given that right without electorate in any way approve permission to do so. Or said like a Stewardess of the Norwegian.no Airline did to us on a flight from Tromsø to Oslo lately when having problems with the Intercom, quote : “It’s YOU guys who pay our wages”. Make this heard in the corridors of Politicians and Bureaucrats and make them see it just that way and we both do ourselves a favor, don’t you think so ?? Mind you there are lots of people in our country who have contributed in surplus to our society without getting a penny for free thus they only receive partially of what they have already paid for – and that’s a FACT !!!

  • Erik

    Norway is doing just fine! Sure, the roads could be better, we could fare better in our schools, and yes, we could treat our elderly better, but to think that other countries don’t have it just as bad or worse is delusional. A few stats for mr. Malde:

    “Unemployment here is at a record low 2.8 percent[…]” aftenposten.no

    “Record trade surplus for Norway” norwaypost.no

    “Norway’s hourly productivity rate is 10 percent higher than that of the United States.” fsmitha.com

  • Jan N. Malde

    Oh yes, especially after our minister of Finance, Kristin Halvorsen gambled away our oil funds we’re doing just fine every day to lose jobs at an escalating speed. So our unemployment is picking up speed, and those numbers you had from august 2006 was by all means cosmethic, because that’s how they do it in Norway, disabling some to make these statistics look better.

    To Gjermund E. Jansen I would say that you should check up who established our oil fund. That was the Concervative government of Jan P. Syse who did that, and it was for the record the Socialist Left who ruined it for all future.

    We’ve made a long list of blunders for the record of the Redgreen Cabbage heads we’ve got for government, and since it’s so long that you risk falling asleep before you finish reading it, we will publish it in several volumes of books. Now that we have knowledge of what they’re capable of it is about time y’all credit me for being right about who this government was. Now it’s a right we have to say good bye to them for the upteenth time come september 14th. So next chapter will bne about the Progress Party. Untill then, just sit tight. Jan.