A while ago I decided to start avoiding the ‘news’ (or whatever passes for it nowadays) and critics. I was growing tired of having to constantly defend my brain against fake news, pointlessly vicious criticisms and sometimes the outright lies spewed onto my screen, all in the name of keeping up with what’s going on.
I realised that I don’t care about which celebrity is getting married/divorced/dead.
The other side to that decision was to seek out writers who were celebrating what they love, who wanted to shout their passions from the rooftops, who were writing about good stuff that matters.
I don’t always agree with other people’s passions or opinions but I value them.
With this mission in mind I started reading a site called Reasons to be Cheerful, feeling tentatively hopeful more than anything else.
Sometimes the articles resonate with me and sometimes they do not.
The last one I read though – The Viking Guide to Oil Wealth Management – is brilliant. It describes how Norway made the decision to NOT give away their natural resources, how they decided to KEEP control over their own oil.
“When the government tabled a new law that would boost taxes on oil profits to almost 80 percent, the stage was set for a showdown. According to Lie, “Companies were furious when they heard about the new taxation law. They started a media campaign saying that they would leave Norway and that it was impossible to work in a socialist country like this that does not understand the rules of international capitalism.”
After demanding a meeting with the Minister of Finance, oil executives around the room all pounded the table and threatened to abandon their concessions unless Norway backed down. The unfazed minister instead turned to his aides and said in full view of the enraged oilmen, “Why are they all still here? We should have taken more!”
It turns out that the UK and Norway share the same oil reserves, coming at them from different sides of the North Sea. As Norway was negotiating to enrich their citizens:
“This vast oil wealth helps pay for some of the world’s most generous social programs. Norwegian parents share 43 weeks of leave from work at full pay, or 53 weeks at 80 percent pay. The government provides a child allowance for single parents of up to $2,100 per month to cover about two-thirds of day care costs. Excellent and free health care is provided to all citizens as well as free university tuition, even to international students. Most Norwegians get five weeks paid vacation, and any overtime above the standard 37.5 hour work week is paid out at least 140 percent.”
On the other side…
“The U.K. wanted to maximize extraction and allowed companies to flare off enormous amounts of natural gas to access the more lucrative oil, a practice explicitly banned on Norwegian rigs. By 2011, the U.K. had extracted nine percent more oil and gas than Norway, yet collected $156 billion less in taxes and royalties” ……. “All this adds up to over $650 billion more that Norway received compared to the U.K. for extracting the same resource at the same time.”
“Margaret Thatcher was swept to power as U.K. Prime Minister in 1979 and soon brought in free-market measures to privatize public assets and limit the role of government in the economy.”
“Lady Thatcher once opined, “Socialist governments traditionally do make a financial mess. They always run out of other people’s money.”
She was wrong. It can be done. People ARE more important than corporations.
Eventually I always find out about the famous person who died/was disgraced and which politician ended up in jail/should go to jail, it’s almost impossible not to, but those things don’t take up as much space in my brain anymore and I am most definitely better for it.
As for the Norway article…my feelings can be summed up by the image below.