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Adopting a Norwegian State of Mind: What Norway Is Doing Right

Norway continues to follow the trend regarding budgetary spending in Europe. Directly affected by petroleum profits that will deliver a budget surplus of $43.7 billion in 2012, the government has chosen to adopt a 3 percent increase in certain allocations for 2013, raising expenditures to $7.3 billion.  Around 52.5 million represents an actual increase in spending over the amount set in the 2012 budget.  Norway’s budget requirement for 2013 will be partly funded by profits from the so-called Government Pension Fund-Global, which had a market capitalization of $600 billion at the end of September. Rather than investing pension monies, the fund almost exclusively invests the state’s robust profits from the country’s extensive oil and gas sector.  And despite a difficult global economic environment, the Norwegian economy continues to thrive.  How is this possible?

Some have thought of the Nordic countries as some derivative of hybrid of socialism and capitalism, but, they are not particularly leftist or interested in socializing their economies.  Rather the health of Norway’s economy means that its people can afford to spend more.

Norwegian underlying inflation was unchanged in October as a strong krone weighted on imported prices, putting pressure on the central bank to keep interest rates low.  We see what Norges Bank postponing the bank’s next rate rise into 2013 means for government to follow.  By citing low inflation even as record offshore investments helped push registered unemployment to lowest in almost four years, government has a clearer path to success.  Particularly, the strong krone, which has emerged as a source of shelter from Europe’s debt crisis, has helped keep inflation below the central bank’s 2.5 percent target since mid-2009.

We must remember that Norway’s mainland economy, which excludes oil, gas and shipping, will expand 3.75 percent this year. These economic developments give reason to believe that inflation will gradually pick up.  We see headline inflation being 1.1 percent in the year and 0.5 percent in the month.  Norwegian Opposition Conservative Party believe that Pakistan and Norway enjoy unbreakable cordial relations, while their country wants to strengthen Pakistan economically and politically.

Norway’s strength is that they realize that Pakistan has had great importance because of its geographical location.  We see the purpose of visits speaking well to the fact that it was necessary for politicians of the countries having deep-rooted relations to understand the strong and weak points of each other.  Pakistanis have played an important role in the development of Norway. The Norwegian policy-makers have kept the interests of foreigners residing in Norway supreme before finalizing policies. Norway has mitigated the immigration laws to facilitate foreign workers who want to bring their families with them.  This all spells success for a Norwegian government to follow.

We see how important it has been for Norway to demand ‘Do More.’ The rest of the world has accepted the sincerity of Pakistan in the fight against terrorism.  What has Norway done?  The Norwegian government has cooperated with Pakistan in the education and health sectors. There has been a promise for a country like Norway to support Pakistan in the agriculture sector as well after her party came to power.  Norwegian Envoy to Pakistan said that one would always remember the love and respect one received in Pakistan.

Speaking on the occasion, we find that Pakistan and Norway had always enjoyed good relations with each other. Though Norway is not a big country, it always supports and stands with truth. There is a sense of that one should doubt its transparency in the presence of free media.  We see that the government does not want to ruin its good deeds of the last four and a half years by delaying the elections and such rumors are being spread by the opposition. A delay in the elections is not possible in the presence of an independent judiciary, free media and civil society. Specifically, the opposition is spreading such rumors to pre-empt its looming defeat.

We should applaud Norway’s Reconciliation Policy of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and signed Charter of Democracy (DoC) with Nawaz Sharif as a strengthening of the democracy and prosperity to the country.  The Norwegian government knows that the USA is their most important ally. Their relationship is based on common values and interests. And that “strong American leadership” is especially important in an “unpredictable world.”

Recently we saw that an overwhelming majority of Norwegians hoped Obama would win against Republican candidate Mitt Romney, and even the leaders of Norway’s conservative parties have expressed support for Obama. The country’s left-center coalition government led by Stoltenberg of the Labour Party was no exception.  Norway and the US cooperate closely on security issues and within NATO. Together with the USA, Norway also wants to carry on the fight against global poverty and our commitment to improving the health of mothers and children.

American elections have generated millions in Norway.  Meanwhile, a Norwegian high-tech graphics firm also emerged once again as a hero in the U.S. election.  Particularly, Vizrt is company behind the groundbreaking graphics used by CNN to report everything from state-by-state voting trends to the most recent election results as they broke. Vizrt was founded in 1997 by Norway’s first commercial nationwide TV channel, TV2, and stocklisted in 2005. Today it has around 600 employees and customers in more than 100 countries including BBC, Sky, NHK of Japan, and CBS.  This growth means that Norwegian government gains strength because it can offer top quality previews of their own policies.

Borrowing money is absolutely fine in Norway. It’s just a sort of a tool that’s there and they utilize that from time to time. They have a great set of opportunities for the future that they really would like to realize, and borrowing money is a natural thing to do.  Nordic companies have been issuing debt at a record pace this year to tap demand after the region emerged as a haven from Europe’s debt crisis. Yields on bonds sold by Scandinavia’s AAA rated governments have eased to record lows, even falling below zero in Denmark and Finland. That’s pushed investors in search of higher yields in the region into corporate debt markets.  The Nordic government meanwhile being increasingly more humane, and an economically successful capitalist model, has flexed its muscles.  In this regard, we see a more open range for raising cash in Norway.

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Author: David M. Chapinski is a Ph.D. student in the School of Public Affairs and Administration at Rutgers University. He is also an adjunct professor at Felician College (Rutherford campus), Long Island University (Rockland, Hudson campuses), and St. Francis College (Brooklyn campus). His research interests include studies of public economies: Multi-organizational, Multi-level Institutional and Risk Analysis.

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