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Why Norway is a BS argument for higher taxes

Bergen Norway

August 1, 2012
Bergen, Norway

Ah, Norway. Government-loving statists love to hold this place up as a shining example that big government and high taxes are good. Free education. Free healthcare. “Happy” people.

Yes, Norway is certainly one of the wealthiest countries in the world on the basis of GDP per capita… and in a variety of international surveys, it also ranks as one of the ‘happiest’.

And yes, Norway is one of the most heavily taxed countries in the world with a total tax burden of roughly 45% of GDP– almost 4x Hong Kong and nearly twice the US.

VAT here is a whopping 25%. Personal income tax rates border 55%. Corporate profits tax ranges from 28% to as high as 78%. Norway even has a direct WEALTH TAX.

This place is about as socialist as it gets. The Norwegian tax authority’s own website even states, “The Norwegian tax system is based on the principle that everybody should pay tax according to their means and receive services according to their needs.”

It’s as if Karl Marx himself wrote the country’s tax policy.

Further, when you step back and look at the Norwegian economy, you’ll see that the state drives nearly all of it. The Norwegian government is the controlling shareholder in 8 out of the top 10 employers in the country– companies like Statoil, DNB, Norsk Hydro, etc.

But since everyone seems to agree that Norwegians are so ‘happy’ and have such a high standard of living, is this central economic planning really so bad?

Let’s first dispel this ‘happy’ nonsense.

It goes without saying that when you ask people who receive generous benefits from the government whether they’re happy, chances are high they’ll say yes.

But Norwegian happiness goes much deeper into human psyche and how we naturally compare ourselves to others in our peer group.

For example, when a childhood friend goes from rags to riches, people often feel extreme envy and reflect negatively on their own comparative lack of success.

Norway has created a system that makes it virtually impossible to pull ahead of your peers financially. People are excused for not working hard and squandering the opportunities they could have grabbed.

Everyone is the same status, and such equality imbues a unique socialist variety of happiness.

This attitude has been deeply inculcated in Norwegian society through what’s known as Jante Law; this is an informal dictate which essentially says ‘You’re only as good as everyone else.’

Consequently, Norwegian culture limits aspirations of achievement. Workers come to the office, punch a clock, shuffle papers, and go home. There is no cultural drive to work hard and get promoted. Work is viewed as what you have to do for 30% of your life, not an opportunity to achieve more and do something that actually matters.

As an example, the office complex across from my hotel room was a ghost town by 5:06pm yesterday afternoon. And work hours in general here have declined steadily over past decades to just 31 hours per week.

 Why Norway is a BS argument for higher taxes

The office across from my hotel room at 5:06pm yesterday. Ghost town.

It shows. How many Norwegian companies can you name? How many revolutionary products and services come out of Norway? Practically none.

So, yes, people are ‘happy’ here. Happy because the system incentivizes underachievement and leisure without the nasty consequence of watching a peer surge ahead financially.

For most people under the bell curve, this is a suitable arrangement. Bureaucrats call this happiness. Maybe so, but it’s at the expense of someone else’s potential.

The other ridiculous assertion is that Norwegians get ‘a lot of value’ for what they pay in taxes.

To be clear, the average Norwegian household pays roughly $70,000 per year in tax. Including the state’s oil income, government tax revenue exceeds $100,000 per household.

Yes, they get free healthcare, free education, and pretty fountains. But for $100,000 per year? The value they get for what they pay is pitiful.

You could pay privately for the most expensive health plans and private schools in the world and still have tens of thousands of dollars in walking around money.

Not to mention, taxes have really driven up the cost of living. It is no coincidence that Norway is simultaneously the most heavily taxed AND most expensive country in the world.

Because of this, Norwegians have limited after-tax discretionary spending cash. Sure they have ‘free’ healthcare, but when dinner for two costs an arm and a leg, people scale back their activities.

This is by design. In keeping people at the same level, Norwegian society has lowered the bar for everyone. There is limited economic freedom to achieve more.

Sure, the system gives them lots of leisure time to enjoy… but this is not necessarily a choice they make freely, rather the only choice they have.

Now, even if this lack of economic freedom seems a reasonable price to pay for national healthcare… even if tamed aspirations and an uninspired career are valid trade-offs for more leisure and less hard work… Norway is not a replicable model.

People who think that ‘we should just be like Norway’ are missing an even greater point: all of this central planning is made possible by huge oil reserves… and for that matter, oil reserves that are DECADES past their peak production.

Norway’s model is not only unreplicable in most other countries, it is also unsustainable.

Mediocrity works great when you can fool society into accepting it and have the oil wealth to finance it. But the true path to prosperity is, and always will be, a system based on economic freedom that rewards hard work, creativity, and achievement.

 

Our goal is simple: To help you achieve personal liberty and financial prosperity no matter what happens.

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About the author: Simon Black is an international investor, entrepreneur, permanent traveler, free man, and founder of Sovereign Man. His free daily e-letter and crash course is about using the experiences from his life and travels to help you achieve more freedom.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • John Pitt-Rivers

    A few comments: The pic could have been taken at 4.05. No one stays longer than they have to in order to work here. And the system is rigged in order to foster mediocrity. Notice also that service tasks – e.g. waiters in restaurants – are often done by foreigners. Norwegians are too lazy to do these things themselves. As I have worked in many countries, I know that the amount left for saving/spending at will is very limited in Norway due to costs and high taxes (there is also a sales tax of 24%; alcohol is incredibly expensive!). One could make half the amount in the US and in reality be equally well-off. Yes, Norway is no model for the rest of the world.

  • http://www.brentdgardner.com/ Brent D. Gardner, CLU, ChFC

    Excellent article! This vaguely reminds me of an episode of Beavis & Butthead, where they (paraphrasing) discuss how to know something is cool. They logically conclude that the only way for anything to be cool is that something else has to suck, and then come up with the brilliant conclusion that if nothing sucked, then nothing could be cool.

    Therefore, with the Norwegian equality of outcome, nothing can be cool, because everything sucks, equally.

    And that’s no way to live, in my opinion.

    • JO SØREN

      SHUT THE FUCK UP

  • http://twitter.com/gkarlsen geir karlsen

    Work less, live more

  • Eli

    What is an example country that is on the other side of the continuum that Norway is on re taxes? Are its residents happy?

  • Craig G.

    Also, another valid consideration is the size and scope of Norway’s socialist way of life. Norway has ONLY 5 million people. That’s hardly anybody. FAR FAR FAR from a fair or legitimate comparable to other countries with 10x 20x 100x the population. With the size of populous being so small the government (or a gang of wealthy leaders) can almost single handily educate and provide economic opportunities for these individuals in their state run businesses. As mentioned in your article, they crush creativity, ingenuity, and destroy wealth. Luckily, for them a few rich oil fields can feed their entire country which is smaller than the city I live in. 
    I could not agree more we need to educate ourselves on why these socialist countries undermine freedom and individual liberties, because they are one of the statist’s favorites examples to try and defend their illegitimate central planning arguments. Thanks for the post and keep it up. 

  • joe_bob_gonzales

    it would be interesting to see how the ruling elites of norway live.  and who are they. the wealth creators or….the govt elites.   hmmm.

    it reminds me of something I used to see in the corporate world here.

    lots of seminars on diversity, for example, but I noticed the highest levels of the company did not pay much attention to that sort of bullshit.

    the corporations were also big on teamwork and company loyalty, but that seemed to flow only up, never saw much teamwork and loyalty flow down.  if you know what I mean, and I know that you do.

     

     

    • Tom Just Olsen

      They live in West Kensington, UK. Because they then don’t have to pay taxes.

  • Colin Ingermanson

    Excellent analysis. Another factor that fosters stability and “happiness” is that the population is relatively homogenous, though decreasingly so. 

  • Rock

    What about entrepreneurs in Norway? Are they happy too with a staff with work ethics like public servants?

    • http://twitter.com/gkarlsen geir karlsen

      Many of us come from families of hard working fishermen and farmers. And thereby we have it in our genes to work hard and honest. But since we got rich, this has changed, drastic. The people first mentioned, are getting older, and have failed to learn their kids the value of good work. (as they themselves has become “slaves of money”, they just dont have the time to spend with their kids, just work). But its not all bad, not at all. We still manage to run a little country over here :) But, still, it does something to people when they get a hold of some money.. they want more. We all do. And when money becomes your primary target in life, life becomes…paper and ink? 

      Its not better or worse in Norway, but were getting there. Now, these days, offshore workers demand 4000NKR (676USD) for having to share the same bed (its 2 beds, one on each side..you flip it upside down) as coworkers(NOT at the same time!), A DAY! (this is only druing, ie maintanance for 14 days max).(they are offered 125USD a day, for the inconvenience, but they want alteast 676USD, a day..)
      May I remind you all, this is besides the normal payment of about 170.000USD year salary. This is atleast the double of normal salary in norway. And may I also remind you that norwegian offshore workers work 14 days, and have 30 days off! (thats work 4 months, and the rest of the year off..) WOW!
      I know this is bad.. its really really bad. Not the demand in itself… ehmm (it is). BUT that the people fail to see the madness. Up until now, our raise in vages have just been raises upon raises, way beoynd the nominal price. And now this with the offshore workers. Its getting worse, thats for sure. Just as I summed up this shit about the workers offshore.. were doomed :D

  • Jo McIntyre

    What socialists don’t realize is that work is fun…when you are doing it for your own satisfaction and the benefit of yourself and your family. This attitude drives them nuts! Remember a few years ago, when when the social “scientists” tried to linke liking to work as a mental illness? Remember “workaholic?” 

    • Rock

      Actually I think every government needs a number of these tax slaves which love to work hard even though a big chunk of their earnings is confiscated. So while you are only a 35%-slave in the US, the Norwegians are maybe 60%-slaves. 

      Think of the taxes not just as money, but a part of your life time (the time you needed to earn this) which nobody and no amount of money can give you back.

      No doubt the US-slaves are happy to work harder because they can keep more. Just keep your cows happy so you will get more milk.

  • Gina

    The numbers you have are completely off! No one are taxed more than 40% in Norway. Also, I get that it’s quite expensive being a tourist here, but we make a lot more than you do, so the prices should be adjusted to the relative income.

    • Øyvind Røed

      Plenty of Norwegians pay more than 100% of their income in taxes as soon as the tax on wealth is counted in.

      • http://twitter.com/Superwacs Torgeir Solem

        if you have that kind of wealth you can afford the tax too…

      • Øyvind Røed

        What others CAN afford, is none of your business. Why don’t you start collectng money from people by yourself, instead of letting the government do the looting? 

      • http://twitter.com/gkarlsen geir karlsen

        Have you forgotten that government is us? Our representatives. Maybe a bunch of dorks, yes, but that can change, or it most definitely will.. 
         We all “chip in” so that we dont have to worry about being sick or otherwise unfortunate. And it will happen, to most of us, one day or the other. Free education, roads all over, jobs for everyone.. you must be in a bad place bro… 
        And if you pay MORE than 100% of your income in taxes..(wow).. how come you have a big new house, an expensive new car, a cabin, a boat, another car and so forth? (maybe you, oyvindbremnes dont have a boat or whatever, but you get the idea)
        Most people do just fine (we are the richest country in the world, or something), but there seems to always be someone that have to have more.. no matter what, and thats somehow a very profound and important last sentence, in a long text almost nobody will ever read.

      • WASP

        Now THAT’s the true socialist/communist approach to income redistribution. The socialist gummint mugs the productive people and steals anything above what THEY feel is sufficient, keeps what it wants, then gives the rest to the unproductive. State capitalism and it’s profits keeps it afloat and income redistribution buys the votes to keep the politweasels in office. THe only thing similar to the US is the gummint. Those crooks are the same world-wide.

      • David Dungan

        how does that math work? You cannot pay more than 100% of your income for anything.

      • graylord

        More than 100% of their income? Riiiiiiiight.
        Failed to pass basic math, did we?

  • AAS

    Wait, you’re saying overworking is a good thing? That we should spend most of our day in the office instead of being with our family and friends? Norway has one of the highest living standards in the world. Isn’t that what every country strives for? Sweden and Denmark have similiar governments and high living standards, and they are not big oil producers. Norway is a very small country with a very small population. I don’t think you can expect much. Can you cite the average per year tax for a Norwegian household?

  • Knut

    Simon, why are you foaming at the mouth over a successful example of socialism? The fact of the matter is, the system they have in Norway works. The people are happy and the country ranks at the top of virtually any national well-being indicator. And as for your its all paid for by oil remark, that is a ridiculous assertion. Norway was wealthy before oil, as are Sweden and Denmark despite the lack thereof. Does this socialist paradise produce a nation of mediocrity? Perhaps, but it is a better than a nation of a few celebrities and CEOs with the masses in misery(the U.S). What’s wrong with a short work week? Is work the only reason for your existence? There are many noble pursuits in life that don’t involve making money. Raising a family, humanitarian work, community service,etc….As for the bang for the buck they get for their taxes, your math is fuzzy. To send 2 kids to private university in the U.S, could itself cost north of $100,000 per year.

    “Sure, the system gives them lots of leisure time to enjoy… but this is
    not necessarily a choice they make freely, rather the only choice they
    have.”

    What sane human being wouldn’t want more leisure time? Statements like the above really reveal what an ideologue you are…

    • http://www.facebook.com/jone.randa Jone Randa

      It works now. But is unsustainable. We norwegians only know about the “oil-fund”. Which makes us believe that we are saving for the future. Dont be fooled.  we are massively taking on state debt to pay for a massive leviathan government. Around 600billion NOK. Over 20% of GDP.  And dont think the oil-fund will help. Because this is specifically for government workers and politicians to live on when they get old, and the next generation is left with the total disaster.

      http://no.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norges_statsgjeld

      • Blue Green Metal

        It “works” now if you don’t need any social services or healthcare. :) They all suck, and are outright dangerous.

        If they measured the quality of schools and hospitals etc after an objective and absolute standard, Norway would drop like a rock

    • http://www.facebook.com/apnyein Aung Pyi Nyein

      “the system they have in Norway works”
      – Communism worked too

      “The people are happy”
      – Have you ever heard of Bread and Circuses? Romans were happy too.

      “the country ranks at the top of virtually any national well-being indicator”
      – they are subjective claims. North Korea claims that China is the happiest country in the whole world too. You would have trusted that claim if you’re a Chinese.

      “Norway was wealthy before oil”
      – Socialism can work in small societies where people have similar attitudes and have family-alike kindness. Socialism is judged to collapse when the population grows bigger and people want more free stuffs but are willing to pay less.

      “it is a better than a nation of a few celebrities and CEOs with the masses in misery”
      – That’s plain envy. Plus the system in US is mixed economy where government protects certain corporations. In Norway politicians, bureaucrats and CEOs in state-owned companies have privileges while normal people have to pay most part of their incomes in direct and indirect taxes.

      “What’s wrong with a short work week?”
      – Great societies are built on hard labor. The socialist attitudes in Norway discourage hard labor. Let me ask you a similar question. What’s wrong with hard labor?

      “To send 2 kids to private university in the U.S, could itself cost north of $100,000 per year. ”
      – One third of Norwegian students prefer to study abroad because Norwegian universities are not good enough. US has higher percentage of people with higher education than Norway. http://finance.yahoo.com/news/the-10-most-educated-countries-in-the-world.html University fees in US is high because of government guaranteed student loans but socialism is not a better alternative. And most Norwegian students who attend private universities need to take a student loan.

      “What sane human being wouldn’t want more leisure time?”
      – The problem is it’s government mandated laziness. People are forced to take vacation every year.

  • Mepoznati

    Croatia have VAT also at 25%. Max personal
    income tax is also r 55%

  • Julian

    Financial equality will never make people happy. One day someone will wake up and say ‘Hey, we earn the same money, but I’m working twice as hard as you’.

    • Mopti

      “working twice as hard …”
      Compared to an earning 2,000 times more than the one of an average worker – occured in financial “industry” – this sounds relatively fair …

      • graylord

        2000 times more than the average worker? Where the hell are you getting your numbers? Also, you do realize the costs of living in Norway is also relative to the increased income?

  • datanerd_76

    Jepp. Take a picture of a office block and use it as an explanation about how medicore and “lazy” socialist are. This article has to be one of the worst generalizations about a country that I have ever read. So heres is my experience as a “lazy” “socialist” who live of oil money. I took over my fathers construction company at a age of 18. And I did all the administration of it while I took a higher education. Today I have my 8-4 work at the office and then I begin working with my real estate company and the paper work with the construction company. So I have organized my “risk taking” business in a AS, I have my real estates organized in another company  because that gives me VERY generous tax benefits and that gives me a tax write off on my “dayjobb”.

    And later this evening I’m going to a meeting in Junior Chambers. A very popular organization for young entreprenours here in Norway. Today we are going to discuss the goverment sponsorship that entreprenours recive if they decide to start a new company. Because today there are about 10 different founding sourced for entreprenours. And you can actually get quite confused about what to choose. Should you for example use Innovation Norway or one of the private founders? And how do you avoid beeing taxed to death, how do you keep controll with the company and how do you find the appropiate staff functions?

    So the reason Norwegians quit working at 4 pm, is that we switch to another working situation. If you have kids, its voulenteer work in sports organizations. If you have some real estate, its always a new renovation project or other improvements. And if your a entreprenour, its alway business meetings and new ideas to discuss. But my work cell phone is turned off. Why? Because this is my “free time”. And that I use this time to earn more money or to improve my life, has nothing to do with my day work.

    Just as an example: When it comes to work effectivity, we are on top in Europe. Even with “only” 8-4 work day. Why? Because we dont have time to work overtime! Our scheduel are way too bussy to waste time on what you should have done between 8-4. After 4 pm, we have our other projects to work on. And this is what foreigners cant understand. So the only thing you are right in, is that Norway is a lousy example for how you can reorganize a foreign country. Beause you will never understand how we work and why we are sucessfull. After all, why havent the other oil producing countries put away money for a rainy day? And something you cant understand, you cant copy……

    • Pepe Pecas

      Why if you work SO HARD and EFFECTIVELY there are no Innovations, new Technology and Inventions made in NORWAY?
      Lazy Socialists !!!

  • 99gross

    Simon you nailed it. Could not have said it better. There are two reasons why this scam is possible. Brainwashing and oil. Brainwashing starts the day norwegians are born. It is incredible because not “evil” power is used. May be the Jante low makes it possible. Norway went repetitively broke in the 70`s and 80´s by devaluing 20- 30% every couple of years. The financial repression was huge (still is). Revenues from oil started coming in in the 90´s and saved the day. The average deficit in the 70`s and 80´s was 12,5% (compare it to Greece´s 8,5%). Today all is forgotten and the country shines. But trust no official socialist data, neither from China or Norway. (Scandinavians are masters of faking, and double morality) Like the official unemployment rate is low, yes? That is if you don’t know that N has the world record in number of people on disability. And people on all kinds of government measures. And then there are some 400k more state employees than in Sweden (Sweden is 2x bigger). 
    And yes I do pay over 70% in taxes, all together. Even thou I earn very well my discretionary spending is very constricted. It is not possible to work or save to prosperity. (At this point every norwegian will tell you that I am still better of than in Africa (this is the level of discussion)). Thous in connection, on government benefits do well- thats sure. And yes if it does not pay off to work you enjoy free time. The only wealth norwegians have are their overpriced houses. Every one is heavily indebted. In Bergen 64% of the households gets support from the government. 
    All of this affects productivity. It takes ages to get a bureaucratic decision, it takes years to build a 100m of road.  The only exception is the export industry. (Which by the way according to a government official is well prepared to meet the future. How? By either closing down or moving aboard). 
    The great awakening will come sone enough. Oil production has been falling the last ten years. Even the official numbers indicate lack of revenues from the beginning of 2020`s. 

  • Sonbyrd

    I would love Norway. Love love love it.  How wonderful to simply make a wage and then spend the rest of my time volunteering (or taking classes or writing the great Norwegian novel or even scheming up my own side business).  How great to get an education equal to that of my peers, how nice to be able to go to the doctor when I need to.  I can’t do any of that in the good ol’ USA even with my college degree.  It’s become impossible to even become a homeowner.  Norway’s socialist system is not for everyone, but for heaven’s sake, you should acknowledge that it’s an incredible gift for the many who operate outside the world of competition and acquisition.

    • Dave

      You should move there.

    • Pepe Pecas

      I hope You moved there already, It’s been 2 years since this!

  • Jesandepuss

    Where did you come to that brilliant conclusion that Norwegian citizen works 9-5 to a maximum of a 31 hour week? Yes they have a different system than what you’re used to, but really?  

    Norway has created a system that makes it virtually impossible to pull ahead of your peers financially” – Seriously? Have you ever been to Norway? What nation do you think has the greatest model? The USA? The UK? Australia? You can’t just piss on everything dude, wake up and get real. That idealistic capitalistic liberalism you’re so proudly parading has not worked yet. It may have worked for you, but to build a whole nation on a system that demands great inequalities is just immoral and will eventually collapse. And as a disclaimer, I don’t think money will ever make people happy Simon… 

    • UpperTen

      Well, if nothing else, we see it unfolding before our eyes right now, the European welfare model collapsing. Truth is, Norway stays afloat because of the oil.

      • http://twitter.com/Superwacs Torgeir Solem

        It stays afloat because we have set aside money for a rainy day…

      • UpperTen

        Clearly, a socalled rainy day fund is a must, and Norway have a sizeable one. But its also tied into foreign corporations, and as their earnings goes, so will also a substantial portion of the fund.

  • UpperTen

    Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.
    Winston Churchill
    Just about right, is it not? Read the Norwegian papers, and you soon discover how malcontent and dissatisfied so many people are, this albeit long vacations, lofty salaries and tranquility.

     

    • http://twitter.com/Superwacs Torgeir Solem

      You wont see people writing to the papers complaining of how good their life is would you? So thats why only negative comments are posted, and whats the fun of letting people know you have a great live. That will not sell papers!

    • Berntv

      And still Norway is considered as the best country in the world to live in, year after year. Not by norwegians, but by international surveys. Strange….. 

      • Pepe Pecas

        only on Paper!! only on Paper!

    • http://twitter.com/gkarlsen geir karlsen

      Like Torgeir Solem said: Like everywhere else in the world, papers sell on scandals and misery, murder and crime. They even make stuff up, all the time(dont know what they are writing about, get things upside down).
      My mother has this book on her table (its norwegian, and goes something like this): “If we are doing so well, why are we not doing better?”
      Now, im not sure that is a good translation, but between the lines: we are the richest country etc etc.. why are we still in misery? (just so much more subtle in the original title). We are not happier than any other people, we just got more money. Still people in Norway fail to see that money aint gonna make you happy. Why? Well, for one, the media tells them their not happy… And there you go. The “whiners” do the rest.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_5SW32GGNXRN2HDTXC4WV6VSHDY WASP

    Russia and the USSR had over 70 years to make Socialism/communism work, and they couldn’t.  The Soviet slave states of the former Warsaw Pact had 45 years to make it work, and couldn’t.  Now the Union of European Socialist Republics, and all of Scandinavia is and has been socialist, and the progressives (who have hijacked the Democratic Party) are pushing socialism in the USA.  If insanity is defined as repeating the same failed actions and expecting a different result, socialist/communists must be the craziest lunatics on earth. But, liberals don’t believe the laws of nature apply to them.

    • http://twitter.com/Superwacs Torgeir Solem

      and yet, we have jobs, houses to live in and food on our tables. We can even travel where we desire all over the world instead of working our ass off for minimum wages…

      • http://www.facebook.com/apnyein Aung Pyi Nyein

         I’m so sure 30% of the population in Norway is on welfare and food is more expensive and worse compared to neighboring countries like Denmark, Sweden and UK. Norway especially Oslo and Stavanger are the most expensive cities to live in the world. You don’t usually have to work your ass off for minimum wages for vacation but you’re required to save 10.2% of your salary starving while civil servants which is about 30% of the total employment have a right to paid vacation. 

      • http://twitter.com/gkarlsen geir karlsen

        You pay the same to live anywhere in Norway. Housing prices are like everywhere else in the world. These “surveys” telling you what place is the most expensive, is just for fun. They compare the price of mcdonalds and absolut vodka.. and so forth. But do they consider what people in the country earn..?  No… so it tells you nothing at all (unless your a tourist..)

      • dejawolf

        income is not a problem as long as your business is within norway. but export, and industry suffer horribly. when the oil stops, Norway is going to crash badly.

      • Empress de Snark

        LOL. Not two weeks ago, I listened to a Norwegian IT engineer at a conference…he was ASTOUNDED that his American tech colleagues can afford to go out to lunch several times a week. “In Norway, most of us bring lunch from home,” he said, “because the cheapest lunch out you can find in Oslo is equivalent to US$20.”
        But oh, sure, tell us more about how the Norwegian cost of living is “like everywhere else in the world.” And tell us more about how your high wages allow everyone to live the good life, because your government picks winners (overpriced food served by uneducated Islamofascist immigrants) and losers (IT engineer with extensive education and experience who gets to fork over half his income to prop up businesses like overpriced restaurants).

      • Pepe Pecas

        Yeah right!
        Norwegians are losers by nature, just look at History on WW2, Germans living, drinking and fucking your women while most Norwegians just watched that happen!
        Most of your people are lazy and gives absolutely nothing to the world: no inventions, technology or innovation…in other words: just parasites!
        oh and yeah, keep using Internet, facebook, youtube, cell phones, etc etc etc…all American Inventions!!

      • Pepe Pecas

        Typical Socialist:
        We have House, Food and we are allowed to Travel!
        hahahaha

  • Blue Green Metal

    Healthcare is only free if you are not paying tax (unemployed) and if you don’t mind waiting years for an operation, or have a death wish.

    4500 people die every year at norwegian socialist hospitals. Half of them is purely because of planned economy. It might not sound like a big number for non-norwegians. But we are barely 5 million people. So hospital deaths caused by socialism per capita is pretty high!

    • http://twitter.com/gkarlsen geir karlsen

      People die in hospitals all the time, everywhere in the world. Its not perfect in Norway, but if you get hurt or sick, you get all the help they can give you (unless its a new medicine that cost 10mill. or whatever, pr. treatment). How can you not be satisfied by something like this? Maybe you want money for getting sick? Well, we got that to (if you are employed and get ill, you will receive a mildly reduced paycheck)

    • Øyvind Røed

      If Norway changed to the American healthcare system, we would save 1545 lives every year… 

  • Auto

    No sense in even saying anything to you elitist wanna-bees’.  You only see what you want to see in a system you have been spoon-fed for your whole lives.  Some people don’t have to be better than their neighbors, and don’t want to be better than their friends they want to be treated as EQUALS.  Bad rapping other systems while your own system is in utter failure wont make things better for you or any one else.
    BGM….”4500 people die each year at norwegian socialist hospitals”….
    “An average of 195,000 people in the USA died due to potentially
    preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001
    and 2002″,…..(source Medical News Today).
    WASP….”Russia and the USSR had over 70 years to make Socialism/communism work, and they couldn’t. “……….But China did and now they’re a stronger economy than the USA.

    • nevermind

      Do the math: USA population is 316,000,000, 195000 dead equals 0,0617088608 percent dead. In Norway socialist hospitals 4500 equals 0,088867666 deaths (pop. 5,063,709)

  • Øyvind Røed

    Notic the extensive use of the word “WE” – favoured by all statists.
    The single human, outside the group is nothing in Norway, with no chance to be heard.
    That’s the reason we got ABB.

  • RobotMoses

    Man, are you talking out of your ASS.

  • akzero2007

    Are people actually reading this? This site must be a satire site.
    Having lived in Norway, Simon Black has it all wrong.
    I can name many Norwegian companies… Statoil, Norsk, Telenor, and Aker to name a few. (All listed on most published “World’s Most Admired Companies”) Statoil is known worldwide for its innovations in energy. The Vikings by the way did “discovered” America. If you want to talk about athletic revelations. Let’s talk about Norway impact on global sports. They invented Telemark Skiing and Slalom. Next time your spraying Pam or your AquaNet… thank the Norwegians, they invented the Aerosol can. Norwegians were also behind the 1G and 2G cellphone network systems. Oh and Telenor was the company that invented the “pinch-to-zoom” function that Apple uses on every one of its iPhones and iPads. Seriously, could go on and on. Like Norwegians have plenty of spare income… they are ferocious travelers and have lots of money to drop while on vacation. This article seriously hurts Simon Black’s credibility. To just attack a country because they have money and are socialistic, to make blanket statements that a country doesn’t make any contributions to the world is at best idiotic but when you’re publishing them, it’s embarrassing. Please do some basic research before publishing.

  • M75462

    All I know is what I see on Liilyhammer. Your men are jokes, but your young women are smoking hot.
    PS. You better watch your immigration or you will all be praying on rugs soon enough

    The Vikings would not be very proud of what their land has become, in my opinion.

  • Tom Just Olsen

    Who is this freak Simon Black? Has he ever read Carl Marx? Really: “The Norwegian tax system is based on the principle that everybody should pay tax according to their means and receive services according to their needs.”

    That is the tax ‘principle’ of all European nation I know of.
    Is he still in this country? Throw him out! For pot smoking.

    • John Anthony

      Tom, truth hurts – keep watching NRK and reading VG, everything is going to be fine!

      • Tom Just Olsen

        Øh, truth hurts….?

      • Tionia

        Maybe your the one who doesn’t see the truth… we can tell that by what you post…

    • Bruce Amsbary

      Actually Tom, Marx does expound that an economic system should be operated under the principle of “from each according to their ability and to each according to their need.” Personally, I think that is a FAR preferable system than to each according to their ability to grab whatever they can from everyone else and to hell with those without the means or ability to take advantage of a system constructed to most benefit those with the most.

      • Tom Just Olsen

        I am allergic to all big thinkers with grand ideas on economic policy. Be it Karl Marx (who did an excellent job describing capitalism) or Milton Friedman. Norway has a system as you describe. The greatest inspirator to the European social democratic movement were Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal.

  • Tom Just Olsen

    Norwegians are a hard working people. That’s why they do so well. Norwegians produce a GDP/capita of about 100.000 $ per capita. Twice that of USA. Almost three times that of UK. Only oil? Deduct the 27% of GDP that is oil/gas – and still Norway are far more efficient and productive than most of Europe.
    Norwegians work 37 hours a week and have 5 weeks holiday. That is in the lower end of the European average. While unemployment is less than half of that of ‘European average’ in Norway. See the combination?
    Some 52% of all Norwegians have a job. Check that to USA and UK in which employment is below 45%. In the UK some 9 million, the population of Sweden, don’t do anything…. While trade balance is dramatically in minus and the government go along on deficits of 120 Bn Pounds annually. Sustainable?
    The Norwegian ‘model’ – the Scandinavian model, really, are replicable just about everywhere. But that will threaten the upper 1%. Of which many survive on businesses that would die if the politically set minimum wage of £ 2,62/hour (UK) was to be increased. By this keeping alive businesses that deserves to die in a modern society.

    • John Galt

      Productivity per cqpita is only true when we don’t consider the fact that Norway has very small population compared to 8 millons population in London and NYC. Plus one third of lazy and unproductive Norwegians live on welfare and 100 000 Norwegians between 16 and 67 years old are outside the work force. Moreover Norway has near largest percentage of unproductive and unefficient government employees at 30%. One more fact slap on you, the government owns half of the stock market in Norway and is the largest government ownership in Europe. That is bad because the government is too big and when it fails, it fails big. You Norwegians are so dumb and brainwashed by the state. I live in Norway and these facts are well-known that you can even google them easily.

      • Tom Just Olsen

        Øh. Unproductive Norwegians? Documentation please! Some 2,6 million Norwegians have a paid job. That is 52% of ‘all’ people living in Norway (5,1 million). UK (population: 63,7 million acc. CIA Factbook) has a labour force of only 32,23 million people. Of which 7,7% are unemployed. That leaves only 29,7 million actually working. That is only 46,7% having a paid job in the UK. That explains the poor trade balance and a state budget deficit of 120 Bn Pounds annually. And the BBC news spot saying ‘9 million Brits (in employable age) are outside the economy!’ That’s equal to the total number of inhabitants of, say, Sweden!
        USA has a population of 318,9 million, a labour force (obviously politically defined) of only 155,4 million people. – Even though ‘average age’ in the US are lower than both UK and Norway. Of these 7,4% are unemployed. That leaves only 143,9 million with a real job in the promised land; only 45% of the total population. Which explains the sea of poverty and the federal budget deficit in the region of 700 Bn US$. A bill sent to Americans not yet born.
        Sure, we can complain here in Norway that many are not pulling their own weight. But the relative figures we discuss is far – far better than the two nations you mentioned. Our high ‘labour market participation’ is the key to our wealth. Higher labour market participation is the medicine to improve UK’s and USA’s economic performance.
        Unfortunately, our labour market participation is falling here in Norway. Of two reasons. Our population grows older (demographics) and a growing number of immigrants. Particularly the women of the latter is not used to working in paid jobs. Many of them aren’t qualified, even. More immigrants; more people on the dole.
        ‘Partly’ government ownership is a good thing. Sure, American, British and Russian oligarchs won’t agree. Don’t be fooled. With more than 5.000 Bn NOK in liquidity the Norwegian state won’t fail anytime soon.

      • John Anthony

        Tom, I feel truly sorry for you!

      • Tom Just Olsen

        You don’t understand economy, John. Stick to sports. That’s simpler.
        The government employees, most of them nurses, play an important part in making our society efficient. While they look after our sick and old we, the others, can work with exports. Nor do the Norwegian government own 50% of all stocks on the Oslo Stock Exchange. You are way off.
        Yes, sure we are dumb. (Just imagine what we think of Brits and Americans. Ha, ha!)

      • John Anthony

        “The government employees, most of them nurses, play an important part in making our society efficient.” – Documentation please!

      • Tionia

        Please don’t think all Americans are the same… many of us are very different than those you are laughing at… we also laugh at them but we are also ashamed of so many Americans….

      • http://www.uit.no/ Karl-Erlend Mikalsen

        How come you think of gouverment employees as lazy and unproductive?

        Sure, we’re 30% of the work force, but we run every echelon of education, health care, infrastructure, lawenforcement, military, as well as helping with findin jobs and navigating a complex social aid system. We are effective and hard working.

        I’ve seen US workers. You stay longer in the office, that is true. But you don’t work there. You hang out.

  • AborysaProductions .

    This is BS, Norway got the highest social mobility in the world(you can be poor and not have a steady earning and still be able to get a job where you get about 50k$ in netto salary, PS: the average is 30k$), and there is no one that says that you are not allowed to be proud of your achievements, but we don’t like braggers. “Janteloven” which states that you should not think of yourself as better than the person next to you. The thing in Norway is that we wan’t everyone to interact socially with one another despite the social status.

  • JO SØREN

    FUCK OFF RIGHT WING SHITE!Like the corrupt US or UK societies are signing examples of healthy economies ?UK and US society is the way it is at the expense of the vast majority’s potential AND financial survival … health and education
    So fk off

  • Ily Michael

    Never been to Norway but I don’t like this article anyway. If people need to feel they are better than someone else, they need some metal health care! I wanted to learn something but this article did not aide in that.

  • http://bk.com/ Da Burger King

    so many butt hurt Norwegians can’t stand to be criticised…love it, all that “freedom” and wealth yet only 6 billionaires with a big middle finger to the rest of Norwegian society.

  • BobOdette

    well let’s go halfway here – tax the oil companies in north america the same way they do in Norway and reduce income and sales taxes for the people – win win

  • Sam Cat

    waaa waaaa waaaa .the author is a whiner …. and he’s also full of shit

  • Tionia

    Sounds to me like the guy who wrote this is the one who is envious… He may be jealous when someone gets ahead of him but when someone is able to go from rags to riches I am happy for them, not envious… so that whole argument is BS as far as I am concerned. If the people of Norway are happy I don’t see a problem… obviously this guy is so unhappy he is searching for ways to discredit the people of Norway… who does he think he is? I know what he is, he is just one unhappy SOB trying to convince people that the people of Norway are not happy and don’t have a clue to what is going on in their country. Sadly there are people who will believe this schmuck and the vile poisonous things he writes…

  • Tionia

    Haha I bet the oil companies paid simon black to write this BS. As a matter of fact they probably wrote it for him. They are mad because of the taxes they have to pay and they are worried that this will catch on in other countries so they are trying to do everything they can to make people believe the lies in this piece of fiction….

  • constitutionalpower

    I have been to Norway and this is pure BS. Although they get taxed heavily, they get a lot of that tax money BACK in tax refunds, subsidies, and public investment for businesses and entrepreneurship.

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