Living abroad and the things you can’t prepare for – Barcelona

I’ve been living in Barcelona for around 13 months now. That’s enough time to get to know the coastal sun-city that’s big enough to get lost in yet easily available to being explored fully. Below are some of my experiences of living abroad you may find useful if you’re planning on making the leap overseas. Here’s what I’ve learned so far from my time in Barcelona (you probably didn't expect a few)!

 

A home away from home:

 

After a busy 13 months I’ve gotten to know this city well. Barcelona has this intoxicating and laid-back atmosphere which is relished by those who wonder its streets and are amazed by unique architecture. The infamous Antoni Gaudi has touched parts of the city with his truly special master-pieces.

 

"Barcelona has this intoxicating and laid-back atmosphere which is relished by those who wonder its streets and are amazed by unique architecture"

 

My 13 months out here so far has been a journey I had never expected to be so good. My move from the grey life in London out to the sun-infested and vibrant culture of Barcelona was something I cannot understate. While in winter it barely drops below 10 degrees Celsius and for six months of the year it’s over 20, the warm climate is perfect for all. Espresso or “cortado” is appropriate at any time of the day out here, as is "cerveza" (no translation needed). There are no “normal shops” in this city, only endless streets lined with tapas bars that are inter-twined with Catalan spirit and life. Barcelona is in no rush to do anything. And I love it.

 

 

Be ready to change:

 

When or if you choose to move abroad, there’s so many things you have to figure out, especially when you live somewhere with a different language. Looking at the latest stats on MoveHub, it’s clear that living overseas is good for your health, wealth and happiness. And according to their study of 1,000 expats, “life is a lot sunnier, more relaxed and far less pressured and more enjoyable”. But things run differently and you have to adapt. You can never anticipate it being perfect or prepare you for what to expect. You learn to just go with the flow. Slowly but surely you can look at yourself and realise you’re changing around the new environment. And when you realise this it’s a special feeling knowing that a city has the power to change you.

 

 

"There are no “normal shops” in this city, only endless streets lined with tapas bars that are inter-twined with Catalan spirit and life. Barcelona is in no rush to do anything. And I love it"

 

Those Spanish or French classes you might have taken once? Nah, they don’t mean anything when you have a local Spaniard going full force at you in some lyrical madness. Or was that Catalan? If you think that today’s world of Skype and Whatsapp can somehow make up for not being back home, then you’re wrong. Can anything bring you closer to home? Nope, it’s just not the same. You have to fork out for the flights and get used to knowing the airport better than your own home. You also end up with two of everything. It’s a nightmare having to buy a new clothes, a new desk and new lights when you have all of this back in your old life. Not all of it can realistically be shipped to your new flat. Especially when you take just one bag like I did. You have to pack light and collect the rest trip-by-trip as you eventually visit home again and again.

 

The power of a new city:

 

When most people move abroad, they often speak highly of their new homes, but there’s always that niggling aspect to any new move. And Barcelona is no different, it has those long-waits for any kind of restaurant and café service, that crowded feel in areas by the beach and the ceiling above you in your career. But despite this, Barcelona has that power to swallow you whole.

 

 

It’s easy to be lost among the mess of colour and uninterrupted life, with the freedom to explore the coast line at your fingertips. Unimaginable beauty surrounds Barcelona and the Southern Spanish coastline, with the mountainous Pyrenees and Basque country to the North offering a unique blend of environment in which you needn't escape the Spanish borders ever in a lifetime. It’s hard to find a reason to leave the Catalonia region even – you can never get bored.

 

"Most of my new friends at work won’t ever make the trip back home again. The trip to Barcelona really has the ability to be a one-way ticket"

 

This bustling international metropolis kindly mixes foreigners and locals in a cosmopolitan clash. They’re ambitious but they’re relaxed about it. They’ll know they will get where they want to be, someday. And they’re in no rush to skip the pleasures of life to pursue that career as quickly as possible. So why am I confused about Barcelona? Well, life is honestly harder. Yes you get that love and mystery of foreign land, but it’s kind of like starting life again, elsewhere. With the unfamiliarity comes insecurity. And in a new life where I've left my things behind, including a busy lifestyle, things just seem … incomplete and somehow short-term.

 

 

Prepare to become that guy:

 

If you get the chance you have to leave your home and work abroad. The mix of new cultures on offer changes you personally in ways you can’t imagine. From my own experiences, I would never have experienced that young and ambitious culture anywhere else. The possibilities to travel and do endless enjoyable things keeps you on your toes. But you will be endlessly asked if you speak the language or love the beach. No I don’t speak Spanish, merely Spanglish at a push. Yes, I love the beach, but I’ve probably only been once every three weeks at best. Yes, I do enjoy my tapas and sangria, but no I don’t drink it daily like everyone expects. Aside from the questions, you’re also seen to be a hero. People find out about your life when they visit, the little insights and pay-check at the end of the month – you become that expat who’s living the dream. It’s cool to have that status. When I come back and visit the UK, the people are bored, the food sucks and the weather is … well, you already know.

 

You’ll learn to love the things you used to hate, like rain:

 

It’s true, however, that I miss my home island of the UK. After a year away you realise it’s the little things back home that you don’t realise how grateful you were for. And from my experiences in Spain, I miss the green, I miss the rain and the grey (hard to believe, right?!), I miss not having to cool down every 5 minutes from the burning sun. And let’s not forget the every-day supermarket food. You don’t realise the beauty of Cadbury’s chocolate until you leave!

 

Stuck in limbo:

 

Living in a multi-cultural and tourist hotspot is kind of depressing. Barcelona is on any top-10 for amount of tourists visiting. And in any top 3 spot for tourist-per-indigenous head. With so many new faces every day in a not-so-big city, people come-and-go and it’s everywhere. If you work in this kind of environment, surrounded by people on holiday, you crave traveling too and begin to miss home and your friends. It’s a strange feeling I’ve never experienced before. I worked out that it’s almost too true that expats are less likely to plant roots in a city like Barcelona. The reality is, the economy is struggling and the desire for expats to fully integrate into Catalan culture is lacking, if not, non-existent.

 

There’s a point where you can kind of be stuck in limbo, neither here nor there. It’s difficult to comprehend at times. Friends back home get on with their lives and you start to miss out on all the excitement, the birthdays, the weddings and the births.

 

 

Concluding thoughts:

 

But the aforementioned are so unimportant in the grand scheme of things. Nothing can compare with the decision you make to move. Treat this as a call-out to all those wanting to move abroad and thinking twice before they commit.

 

Don’t think, just do it. The sacrifice in home-comforts, salary or whatever it may be, are too worth it. It’s an experience you’ll never get again.

 

Barcelona is now my home away from home. And I’ll always come back here with a smile on my face, from wherever I may go next in my journey.

 


 

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Three-minute CT-Sessions: Perspective

 

Perspective – “a particular attitude towards or way of regarding something; a point of view”.

 

One day recently I found myself driving down a road I knew only too well – I know every turn, every shop and every house along its path. It’s the same road leading to the same destination I’ve always known. But despite my knowledge of the road and where it led, I had never driven back in the opposing direction, I’d usually take a different way back (don’t ask me why). This time was different, however, as the road I normally take back was closed, forcing me to return the same way I had come.

Before long, I had to stop halfway and check Google Maps on my phone. I was convinced I was lost. How could this be the same road I always came down? The houses I thought I knew had huge gardens behind them with fields stretching out to a river. I didn’t know there was a river? It’s funny how I can live for over two decades in one tiny village area, and only discover most of the landscape after looking back on the way I’d come.

A classic example of perspective. Source: briansolis.com

It goes to show the importance of turning things upside down once in a while. It’s a little thing called seeing things in a different perspective. Amazon CEO and founder, Jeff Bezos was an active spokesperson for its importance. He once said, “perspective is worth 80 I.Q. points”. And it’s easy to see why. Some of the most important business/ scientific discoveries came from shifts in perceptive and turning ideas on their head.
The next time someone dislikes a film you loved, maybe it’s because they weren’t seeing or picking up on the things that you were. Me and my friend recently watched a film in the cinema. To my surprise, I liked it and they disliked it. I couldn’t understand why? The cinematography was immense and I found the story line thrilling. Normally they would have really liked it – we’ve always like the same films. But then I discovered that they had just watched their favourite film the night before. What normally would be a great film can only at best appear average and worse than it was in reality against the best. The fresh memories of the highest-quality film from the previous night had changed their perspective in the cinema as they could compare them together.
We have to understand other people’s perspectives while making decisions. Source: thoughtcatalog

A rather amusing TED Talk featuring advertising guru, Rory Sutherland, particularly caught my attention on the topic. He draws attention to the “power of reframing things” and gives a funny example of being alone at a party. You can either stand there, outside on the balcony looking bored and unsociable, speaking to no-one. Or, if you simply find yourself with a cigarette in hand, sporting a new posture and everyone “suddenly thinks you’re a f***ing philosopher”.

In other words, things are not what they are; they are what we think they are and what we compare them to”

So why is perspective important? Well for one thing and as we saw just then, you can appear to not care or have less interest in things or people as they slowly fade from your immediate memory and thought. It doesn’t necessarily mean that people or objects are less important and useful to you, but it suggests we can forget at how important people once were to us, or how much we loved something in the past that slowly appears less amazing as the feeling produced from it has worn thin.

Looking through someone else’s eyes. Source: chrislovejoy.me

Consider the former as a tool to evaluate what you’re doing, how you act, how you are perceived,your posture, and use it to benefit yourself. After all, life is all about making decisions, perhaps considering different perspectives can give you the added insights required to make informed decisions. Or perhaps carrying some cigarettes on you can increase your ability to look candid and intriguing.

Perspective is beautiful, it’s a human quality. And of course, anything human is naturally flawed, as we are after all … the perfect imperfect beings.


 
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Find the link for that TED Talk on perspective here > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iueVZJVEmEs

 

The mountain towering over Trump. Why America is far from great.

In light of recent news, it’s becoming almost too clear that the world is going through a bit of a rough patch. And by this I mean absolute turmoil and sheer uncertainty. In June the UK made the decision to leave the EU. The biggest market opt-out ever seen has sent the world into a darkness fuelled by uncertain consequence. And it doesn’t stop there – this month a man with unprecedented levels of inexperience and political incorrectness, yet a worrying knack for causing controversy in all the wrong ways was elected as leader of the US. To put it plainly, we have no idea what Donald Trump has in store for us as the soon-to-be most influential and powerful figure across the globe.

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Trump is in trouble. Source: national review

Trump has a mountain to climb before him. His country is in an advanced stage of moral and cultural rot as argued by many researchers. With a hefty $19 trillion worth of debt building up behind a curtain of ruthless spending – the US is on a one-way ticket to financial oblivion. But this “great” nation’s problems don’t end with finance but instead are seen across almost every conceivable statistic. From: an obesity crisis that reaches 43% of the population and a 40% rise in illegal immigration (since 2014), to the issues of preventing IS terrorists from flourishing and a massively shrinking middle-class – Trump’s mountain could dwarf Mordor.

Oh, and this mountain comes served with its very own complex road-blocks among its path to the top that could take decades to unravel. The severity of America’s problems requires more thought then just tax payer’s money being aimlessly wasted. The US faces a potent epidemic whereby the sedentary lifestyle is becoming increasingly apart of American society and culture. It was during the Cold War that the US served as a guarantor of stability to all. Its national interests were defined by other nations who were genuinely interested in peace, free-market economics and accessible trade-routes. Let’s not forget the US, backed by unrivalled military power, once had the capabilities to keep many regional conflicts under control – i.e. Pakistan and India, North and South Korea, Israel and the former Yugoslavia. Instead of dominating world affairs it acted as arbiter of last resort.

Today power is spread between other countries and America’s position in global affairs has someone slipped backwards. Trump must reverse the lost credibility of previous military interventions, such as that of Iraq and end the “leadership from behind” culture believed to weaken the US by economists worldwide. It’s widely acknowledged that the US Is seen to be inward-looking with isolationist leanings that have gained traction in the political mainstream.

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America’s on-going pivoted relationship with Russia. Source: AWD news

Citigroup’s “Global Political Risk” analysis nicely summaries – noting how “the threshold of what constitutes US national interest has narrowed markedly in comparison to previous decades”.

And “with no-one to replace the US as a world-leading power within the international system, the “Great Power Sclerosis” is beginning to take play”.

Suddenly, we are finding rogue players begin to compromise the international system with no-one to defuse regional and local conflict. To many, it’s only a matter of time before a major war is sparked again. We don’t need to look further than Moscow to realise that. And alongside this, it’s the more extreme “outsider” politicians and public figures that are beginning to emerge. Diplomacy is ineffective against a rising sentiment of injustice and inequality among increasingly diverse social groupings. Thus, today we have increased anti-establishment sentiment, protests, violent demonstrations and more frequent terrorist attacks.

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Marine Le Pen is just one of many anti-establishment politicians gaining waves of support in recent times. Source: the druan

The once comfortable sectors of society are feeling increasingly vulnerable – exacerbated by the growing reality that: political significance today is less about elections but rather how it influences the context for key elections. With France and Germany facing key elections next year, as do the scheduled political transitions in China and Russia, Trump must look to cleaning up the image his country portrays across the world. In particular, he must focus his attention to mending broken relations with Russia.

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It looks like it’s time for a real hero, America. Source: sobadsogood

The iconic splendour of the Gatsbian 20s, 30s and 40s once envied by the world has faded into distant memory, with the American “dream” washed down with it. President Xi Jinping of China has already began establishing military power and emphasising national strength with “Guanjun Guojia Genti”. Simply put, China is looking to replace the US as the world leading power. America needs a hero, and by this I don’t mean another Marvel character weakened by great actors in not-so-great films, but a real hero who can lift America out of the ashes. Whoever that hero is, we need you soon.

 

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Why Religion is no longer suitable for today’s world – an extremely short insight:

Why Religion is no longer suitable for today’s world – an extremely short insight:

Introduction:

Now more than ever, religion is being heavily scrutinised worldwide as a force that causes more bad then good. From the Crusades to the Roman Catholic and Protestant sectarianism in Northern Ireland – religion is guilty of stimulating mass violence and death since its conception. With the recent rise of the Islamic State and spreading of fear across the world –  this article questions why such primeval religions are still so significant today.

Sociologist Phil Zuckerman is the first of a handful of experts who will being shared within this article. His research strongly supports evidence that “not a single advanced democracy that enjoys benign, progressive socio-economic conditions retains a high level of popular religiosity”. His research further suggests that the least religious nations in the world tend to be the most peaceful and prosperous. In particular, New Zealand is a prime example of a country free of strict religion yet with flourishing public policies. And its evidence conducted by Professor Michael Huemer, Proffesor at the University of Colorado that couples well with Zuckerman in extending the argument further. Huemer lays out compelling arguments which his research suggests the following relationship: the greater the prosperity and feeling of security of the individual, the less they feel the need to be attached or even associated with following a religion. Thus, an overwhelming array of evidence documents religion as: slowing intellectual progress, promoting the acceptance of the implausible and creating false general conceptions about reality – all of which are harmful to progression in society.

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A classic New Zealand landscape. Source: cabi.ac.nz

Religion as we know it today is born from our development as human beings throughout history. We had very little understanding of the way our world works if we go back two-thousand years and even a significantly smaller catchment of knowledge within our parent’s generation. Periods in history, such as the Iron Age, were deeply religious times whereby: rampant superstition, ignorance, inequality, racism, misogyny and violence were heavily encouraged by competing religions and conflicts over exact ideological interpretations.

Slavery had God’s sanction, women and children were literally possessions of men and warlords practised cruel warfare – in the name of Gods. We can examine snippets of pagan myth which were applied to Christian gospels just in the same way Roman and Greek mythologies share various analogues – such as the Gods Zeus and Jupiter. Religion was not simply born from myth but instead myth acted as the best way of explaining the functioning of nature.

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Botecelli’s The birth of Venus depicts the influence Greek mythology has. Source uffizi.org

But is religion still necessary? In order to question religion’s exhausted existence today we must look beyond how it was conceived. This is where Science comes into play – it has proven many answers to questions wrong that were previously un-answerable. We no longer need parables and metaphors that helped guide us in our early development. They have outlived their usefulness to us as (reasonably) enlightened, thinking beings that we are today.

The works of the late Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins draw attention to how we no longer need to be associated to a deity or some religious authority to agree on the basic core values of which we have a responsibility to uphold. Simple teachings of respect, love for others and learning right from wrong do not require one to follow the aforementioned stories found in the Bible or Qur’an. Dawkins and Hitchens are renowned for defending this point well against critics. We do not necessitate the existence of a Creator who enforces these values upon us; nor does the atheist assertion of a lack of a “creator” imply that we do not have a duty to lead moral lives. Dawkins goes on in depth in his book “The God Delusion” to write: “Faith can be very very dangerous, and deliberately to implant it into the vulnerable mind of an innocent child is a grievous wrong”. Or as Albert Einstein wrote: “If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed”. And more people are sharing similar views leading to an increase in atheism globally.

Famous anti-theistical author and evolutionary biologist: Richard Dawkins. Source: gettyimages.com

It’s suggested by Nigel Barber that the world could be majority atheist by 2041 – his thesis cites that as a nation’s GDP (gross domestic product) increases, its citizens feel less need for the kind of emotional security offered by religion. It is clear that Atheists not only have trouble reconciling the Word of God in all its widely varying interpretations but also struggle in accepting Biblical passages that have no bearing on any modern system of beliefs and morals. To many followers of religion it is not about development but adhering to a set of ridged beliefs and following the rules laid down by religious authorities. It’s founded on defending your own belief against anyone who questions you and asserting your truth other people’s. The result over history is clear –  would there have ever been violence in an atheist/ agonistic Northern Ireland? Would there be settlements in Muslim areas of Palestine if the ultra-Orthodox Jews did not believe that the land was given to them 3 millennia ago by Jahveh? Would the Palestinian Muslims be so volatile about the “tomb of Ibrahim” if he were a Jewish ancestor and not a Muslim prophet like the Qur’an insists?

It’s at this point that we realise religion is a force for control and ironically insists that we promote dogma. However, we must appreciate that it’s natural for us humans to want to understand life’s questions. And at the dawn of time in our existence in this world it’s of no surprise that “Gods” as we know today were created to answer our feelings of fear, hatred, love and to provide reason behind remarkable natural events such as thunderstorms, tsunamis and even concepts such as darkness.

The fear of the unknown is the reason religion began and grew to what it has become today. However, let’s take a step forward and accept that Science is beginning to unravel many of our world’s mysteries that once caused religion to flourish as previously mentioned. We must come together in light of factual, scientific evidence and a growing, modern, diverse and open world that is inappropriate to host religions designed so prematurely.

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Religion was the answer to nature’s natural disasters. Source: izismile.com

The CTS:

Taking the above into account – I must note that the article has been strictly written and created by myself, my own views and those mentioned above who have influenced me. I do not aim to discolour religion or even deter people away from it, but merely provide an insight into a growing global view that deserves discussion.

 

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Norway’s love affair with Oil & Gas – a bitter end?

It’s been a strong relationship of 50 years in which Norway began its romance with the natural resource. Since discovery in the 1960s, exports of oil and gas have become an increasingly critical part of Norwegian life.

It’s a well-known fact that oil is a natural resource, and like all “sunset industries” it must come to an end. And at almost 2.5 million barrels of oil being extracted per day with just over 6.5 billion proven barrels of reserves left – Norway is running out of oil … fast.

In fact, according to Business Insider, that leaves just 7-8 years before Norway runs dry. And it’s of no surprise considering that North Sea Oil production has peaked – sparking disagreements over deeper exploration for oil in the Barents Sea as well as in the Arctic. Decisions to go further in finding more oil reserves are causing headaches for environmental and political organisations worldwide who continue to outline the hugely damaging effects of oil and gas production/ consumption.

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A typical large-scale Norwegian rig. Source: cyberdefencemagazine.com
So with the Norwegian oil industry in crisis, it begs us to question how heavily do Norwegians rely on the natural resource in keeping their economy and government afloat?

The treasure beneath Norway:

It’s no myth that behind the endless salmon farms, fjords and breath-taking landscapes, Norway is well-endowed when it comes to natural resources. The statistics speak for themselves – Norway is the 8th largest crude oil exporter in the world, 9th largest exporter of refined oil and also the 3rd largest natural gas exporter. Alongside this they host huge reserves of exploitable coal underneath its famous “continental shelf” so often debated about by environmentalists.

May 1963 was the turning point in post-war Norwegian history. In this month the government asserted sovereign rights over natural resources in its sector of the North Sea. Just three years later exploration began and by August 1969, the Ocean Viking drilled its first hole into a treasure chest of wealth. This was immediately a major factor in Norway’s historic decision to never enter the EU (then EEC) and build what has become one of the most sophisticated and welfare systems in the world.

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The Historic Ocean Viking oil rig in 1969. Source: offshore energy.com
It’s of no question that the very heartbeat of petroleum has been a major contributor in the development of the Norwegian welfare state. Using the research conducted on Norway vs Scandinavia before and after oil production in the 60s, a gap in GDP, total value creation, investments, exports and revenues grew between what were once all equal nations as a direct result of oil discovery.

But the major factor in pushing Norway above its neighbours economically was the establishment of the world-renowned Welfare State Fund in 1990 or the near $1trillion saved as a sort-of “rainy day” pot of cash if things get bad. It’s the world’s largest wealth reserve, amounting to $180,000 per person and is supposedly Norway’s answer to life once the marriage with oil has broken off and to prevent de-industrialisation. Thus, it’s of no surprise that 1/5 of Norway’s economy relies on this abundance of natural resources – but this according to many researchers translates more towards 35% of their economy when taking into account secondary industries that rely on the oil industry.

Life without oil:

The fact of the matter is that oil discovery has allowed Norway to differentiate in socio-politics among rivals in Europe and especially against its closest Scandinavian neighbours who operate among free markets while Norway continue to embrace its state capitalism, led by its national oil champion Statoil. The Norwegian state owns large takes in the country’s biggest companies, from its largest bank DnBNor, to the largest fertiliser-maker, Yara and Norsk Hydro – the largest aluminium producer. The resultant effect is that the state owns 37% of the Oslo stockmarket. A recent article from the Economist highlights how oil is Norway’s penchant for state capitalism, quoting Torger Reve of the Norwegian Business school:

“we invented the Chinese way of doing things before the Chinese”.

With a population density of just 13 people per square kilometre, Norwegians have always depended on the state to help manage the abundance of natural resources – minerals, fjords, forests and waterfalls to those isolated communities that no-one has ever heard about. And it’s the oil boom that led to a consequent boom in public spending that Norwegians seem to be so proud of. Since the 1970s, those employed in education has doubled and heath/ social services employment has quadrupled. The public sector now accounts for 52% of Norway’s GDP, with blue-collar workers earning three times that of their British peers.

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Norway’s scenic landscapes. Source: wloudinary.com
It’s not all good news:

Among the world’s highest standards of living, wage rates and GDPs, oil wealth has not come without its own problems. The dominance of the industry has led to the monopolisation of technical talent – 50,000 engineers have been sent to offshore locations. And alongside this, property prices are rising by 7% a year, the Big Mac Index has become one of the highest in the world at $7.69 for a Big Mac (almost double the USA) and so the sky-high prices have led many experts to question Norway’s socio-economic trajectory.

To many researches, “Dutch disease” (an over-reliance on one industry) has become a common conclusion to Norway’s situation – which became apparent when oil prices began to fall in 2013.

This proved that, beyond the glitz, the Norwegian economy has become incredibly unbalanced …

… and according to Prime Minister Erna Solberg in an interview with the BBC: “… our strong currency left some of our traditional industries behind” which only echoes the idea that the prosperity of recent may only be temporary.

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Traditional native Norwegian industries include salmon fishing. Source: leroyseafoodgroupasa.com
The sovereign wealth fund or “oil fund” mentioned above is supposed to be Norway’s answer to slowly parting ways from its reliance on natural resources. However, according to Reuters this isn’t the case with an “exposed economy unprepared for life after oil which threatens the long-term viability” of the fund. Experts instead argue that the government must limit wage increases to productivity and oil cost growth, cut taxes like its neighbours and spend less of the oil money. Some are even talking of depreciating the Krone. The knock-on effects of Norway’s current trajectory is that many of its workers are leaving and instead migrating to new jobs in Mexico, China and the USA, leaving only high-tech and automated jobs at home. Many of Norway’s wealthier inhabitants are moving to London to escape high taxes and a somewhat claustrophobic society.

Many speak of a complacency and dependence so great that as oil profits dwindle, the welfare demands will become increasingly burdensome and unfeasible. That added to the inevitable increase in unemployment will erode the nation’s wealth. Norway must re-direct investments away from Statoil – perhaps looking towards exploiting the high level of education and talented people and increase investment in home-grown technology development.

The CTS:

This session has outlined a trio of solutions Norway must take to get back-on-track towards a balanced economy.

  • They must begin by ensuring it’s better placed to respond to the challenges of a dying industry that makes up 35% of GDP. The government should start off by reducing the 250,000 vulnerable oil-based jobs in the economy and aim to diversify it more towards renewable energy, eco-friendly processing, robotics, nanotechnology, fisheries, tourism and IT technologies which serve as natural priority areas for such an educated and developed nation.
  • Norway must use the wealth made from the oil to stop state guarantees, tax cuts and special arrangements that incentivise increased oil exploration and instead redirect these towards other industrial sectors.
  • Encourage elected politicians to step-up and take the reign of the Norwegian economy away from Statoil whose interests lie in profits not general welfare and put them back into a free-state government structure similar to that of Sweden.

It’s time to end the bureaucratisation born of Norway’s enthusiastic embrace of state capitalism and enter a new age of reforms that rely less on depleting natural resources.

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