Social Oilocracy

A boom in oil has [generally] led to a decline, if not a complete devastation, of conventional businesses … in Britain in the 1980s, after North Sea oil was discovered, the British industrial economy was virtually obliterated, leaving four million people jobless. Among oil economies, Norway … is almost alone in having avoided this fate. As oil has boomed, so has everything else, and it has boomed in areas that will continue to generate economic growth when the oil revenues are gone … while other countries have become apathetic and uncompetitive during petroleum booms, Norway appears near the top of every international index of competitiveness and entrepreneurship. … Only about 10 per cent of Norway’s $70-billion government budget comes from oil money. In order to finance their generous state services and social benefits, Norwegians’ income taxes are among the highest in the world, and their gas stations charge $2.30 for a litre of unleaded – the highest price in the world, in a country that is the world’s third-largest exporter of the stuff. But it’s hard to find Norwegians who consider this a burden. They have among the highest disposable incomes in the world (and the fairest distribution of income: Even the poor are comparatively rich). In every quality-of-life index, Norway ranks at or near the very top … the unemployment rate is currently 2 per cent.

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