Wednesday, September 14, 2005

Norway - not so rich

Norwegian GDP per capita stands at 40 000$ at the moment which means that it's the world's 4th richest country. But how much the Norwegians are able to consume?

"It (a study by KPMG) indicated that when disposable income was adjusted for cost of living, Scandinavians were the poorest people in Western Europe."

"While the private-consumption figure for the United States was $32,900 per person, the countries of Western Europe (again excepting Luxembourg, at $29,450) ranged between $13,850 and $23,500, with Norway at $18,350."

That's the price of high prices and heavy taxation. Who's going to pay the bill when the population gets older and there are less tax payers? The Norwegians are certainly able to buy some time with their massive oil reserves but for how long? And the left just won the elections - I'm not seeing any way out of this any time soon.

Source: The New York Times


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

New Orleans, Africa and China

Been surfing through zillions of sites and found some nice articles which are worth reading. Take a look at the stuff below.

  • Johan Norberg writes about New Orleans and global warming in "No, Hurricanes Are Not Worse Today":

    "Figures from the National Hurricane Center show that the number of hurriances has not increased in the US in the last decades, and neither has the severity of hurricanes"

    Norberg also provides a link to a list of people who should be blamed for the hurricane.

  • And here's an interesting interview (from Der Spiegel): Kenyan economics expert James Shikwati explains why foreign aid to Africa doesn't work and should be stopped/limited (if you ask me, almost all of state-sponsored aid should be stopped):
    "For God's Sake, Please Stop the Aid!"

    "Shikwati: 'Why do we get these mountains of clothes? No one is freezing here. Instead, our tailors lose their livlihoods. They're in the same position as our farmers. No one in the low-wage world of Africa can be cost-efficient enough to keep pace with donated products. In 1997, 137,000 workers were employed in Nigeria's textile industry. By 2003, the figure had dropped to 57,000. The results are the same in all other areas where overwhelming helpfulness and fragile African markets collide.'"
    (Via: Antti Kokko)

  • And one more. An interview of Singapore's first-ever prime minister Lee Kuan Yew tells us about China's economical might, the possibility of a new Cold War between China and the US and the failure of Europe's social-democrat nations:
    "Mr. Lee: 'The social contract that led to workers sitting on the boards of companies and everybody being happy rested on this condition: I work hard, I restore Germany's prosperity, and you, the state, you have to look after me. I'm entitled to go to Baden Baden for spa recuperation one month every year. This old system was gone in the blink of an eye when two to three billion people joined the race -- one billion in China, one billion in India and over half-a-billion in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.'"
    (Via: PekkaNykanen)

    "We ask the French for money. We get it, and then we waste it." -Former Central African Republic leader Jean-Bedel Bokassa