Saturday, May 16, 2009
USA needs to takes some notes from Norway...
I couldn't help but be impressed by this NYTimes article on Norway's economy. While by heredity I could feel a sense of pride in this news since 50% of my genes are Norwegian...I really look at this more as an American. If our President and country is intent on going down the road of "socialism", I much rather prefer Norway's version than the one our government is espousing and acting upon.
It seems the Norwegians have been "contrarian" to what most of the markets and countries have done in relationship to recent economy declines and fluctuations. When times were flush and oil prices were exorbitant at over $140 per barrel, they went into savings mode and unlike Britain and other governments of those heady days, they didn't spend lavishly with the windfalls. Then when times quickly changed and the markets dumped including energy, they have used their savings and huge cash positions to buy world assets at huge discounts. This is "investment 101" my friends, and it doesn't seem that many in the world beside Norway quite understand this basic concept anymore. And how is it that such a dominantly strong socialist system can so easily beat the first world former capitalists at their own game? I would suggest it is simply a matter of ethics and responsible financial management.
The Norwegians, unlike our own government, have seen fit to take stock of future generation's needs. They have acknowledged the power of cash and limitations of debt...the basic science of finance and economy. Yes, Norwegians are some of the most highly taxed citizens in the world...yet they also work fewer hours per week than most any other industrialized nation and have less personal debt per capita than most other first world citizens. Even the Heroin addict on the street who has NEVER WORKED gets $1500 per month from the government to support his chosen habit/lifestyle. In the USA this guy would be living in some filthy tenement or back alley, panhandling in the streets and probably robbing people to survive and support their addiction. While I am obviously no socialist and don't believe in the long run this is the best example of positive socialism, I have to recognize that it seems a lot more humane treatment of human frailty and failure than our American system has where everyone is just dumped in jails...AT A COST MUCH HIGHER TO THE PUBLIC THAN $1500 PER MONTH!!! Our USA system is just insane in my opinion.
In summary, I think Obama and his Democratic cohorts need to go to Norway for a seminar on how to provide productive, profitable "socialism" if that's what Americans want. Their current version is totally sucking the life out of whatever productivity and profitability that is left in our country, while mounting up debts that will take decades of future generations to pay off. All of that simply because our system of debt and upside down economics is now a blaring example of what NOT to do when the money is pouring in. I would point out that going all the way back to Old Testament times in Judeo Christian history and ethics, debt was a major ethical no-no...with heavy prices to pay. Governments are now trying to find ways around millenniums of financial principles.
One final thought...I am hearing the media and politicians spewing out the lies of how America's financial fall is the fault of runaway "capitalism". I would argue that our country has not had true capitalism in over 60 years. Going back to FDR's "New Deal" on through Lyndon Johnson's "Great Society", the long term manipulations of a private "Federal Reserve", and the use of liberal bankruptcy and tort laws for the rich to buy their legal ways out of failure for generations...we have created a system that is not pure ANYTHING. There is no longer any such thing as "laisse fare", free enterprise, free trade, or pure capitalism. The government has taken on the role of controller of all financial systems within their borders, and have tried their damnedest to carry that to the international arena as well. And we now want them to take that to another level? This is like the slaves telling the Slave Master that they want more controls and less freedom. Our current failing scenario is primarily because of this loss of personal or corporate freedom to compete freely in markets of the world...and to pay the cost naturally if we fail. Governments role is to ensure a fair and level playing field, but not to determine or control the outcome. The masses are now crying for more of the same medicine that is killing them...MORE government controls. Good luck with that model. It didn't work the last 100 years...why do you think it will work the next?