Drowning Our Ideals In Oil
Norway’s oil wealth has made us selfish and greedy, said Jan Kaerstad. Like other Scandinavians, we once embraced a third way between socialism and capitalism, believing that a more equitable society would result if we would take a bit from the rich and give it to the poor, and provide a decent level of services for all citizens. A few decades of an oil boom has changed all that. “Now everyone wants to be rich.” Where we used to see the common good, we now see profit: Norwegians have even proposed privatizing such core societal resources as education, health care, and public transport. “We are squandering our inheritance of faith in the moral principles of equality, justice, and solidarity, replacing it with the sole value of freedom.” That shift is creating a more unequal society, as we begin to value individual achievement and individual freedom of choice over collective well being. It would be bad enough if we had become “so prosperous and so spoiled” through some good work, but it’s all through oil. Our entire economy is based on poisoning the plane, and we can only “enjoy our happiness by gagging our collective conscience.” How disturbing that more Norwegians have smugly accepted this despicable bargain.