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The Anglo disease is a reprise of the so-called 'Dutch disease', which supposedly an process that develops when a country gets too rich from one sector of its economy, and other sectors are thereby destroyed. Originally, this was thought to apply to Dutch gas, although you can also go back to Spanish gold (well, gold the Spanish looted from the Americas). If I received my stories correctly Adam Smith basically made the same argument over 200 years ago.

Anyway, the financial sector is thought to have done the same to the UK and the USA. There's something to that, in that these countries have a very low share of manufacturing in their GDPs compared to other 'western' countries.

Now that the house of cards built on the fancy financial constructs drawn up by economists, contract lawyers and investment bankers is falling down, the UK and USA are thought to be at much more risk than continental Europe or Japan. That's how we can talk about a 'disease' rather than successful specialisation.

At least that's what I've gathered...

Anyway, I've started wondering recently, what about Norwegian gas? Their reserves are much bigger than the Dutch and they're a smaller country with less industry. Is or was there a Norwegian disease?

by nanne (zwaerdenmaecker@gmail.com) on Mon Dec 3rd, 2007 at 06:16:59 PM EST
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No time for an extensive answer, but:

a) I think there are signs of the issue in Norway. (I don't know if Solveig would agree with this.)

b) The Norwegian government seem to have looked at the results of the Dutch situation and created the oil fund and other government vehicles to try and avoid it happening, with some apparent success. (I think Solveig might agree with this.)

by Metatone (metatone [a|t] gmail (dot) com) on Mon Dec 3rd, 2007 at 06:55:00 PM EST
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I have no time for a long answer either, but I can confirm that every Norwegian government since oil was discovered has been very aware of the dangers of becoming too dependent on the oil industry.

I would say we have been quite successful in maintaining a diverse knowledge based industry spread over the whole country - although small scale compared to those in more industrial nations.  Much of this new industry is, of course, related to oil.  Every oil company that drills on the Norwegian shelf, has always had to source a certain percentage of their services from local firms.  This has given us unique  knowhow in certain niche areas.  

Education has been key to achieving this.  I believe the Norwegian population has one of the highest levels of education in the world - and education has always been free (nothing to do with oil-money).

Could write more on various efforts to diversify, but need to stop here...

     

by Solveig (link2ageataol.com) on Mon Dec 3rd, 2007 at 08:04:24 PM EST
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