Against Economic Tide, Norway Thrives

Often standing in contrast to Europe, strict state control puts Norway in good stead
By Clay Dillow,  Newser Staff
Posted May 14, 2009 10:49 AM CDT
A Norwegian oil rig.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – While the rest of the world struggles with recession, Norway’s socialist-leaning government looks pretty smart, the New York Times reports. Norway enjoys a budget surplus of 11% and is free of debt (the US owes $11 trillion), and its economy grew 3% last year. Oil revenues are pouring in—$68 billion last year—and its sovereign wealth fund is among the world’s largest.

Tight control over lending kept banks there healthy—and housing prices are rising because there was no bubble. While it’s easy to attribute Norway’s success to its status as the world’s third-largest oil exporter, legislation mandating oil revenue be deposited into the sovereign wealth fund to highlights forward-looking values. “We cannot spend this money now,” one economist said. “It would be stealing from future generations.”