Sunday, February 10, 2008

Nordic Welfare States Are Poorest in Europe

In Oslo, library collections are woefully outdated, and public swimming pools are in desperate need of maintenance. News reports describe serious shortages of police officers and school supplies. When my mother-in-law went to an emergency room recently, the hospital was out of cough medicine. Drug addicts crowd downtown Oslo streets, but applicants for methadone programs are put on a months-long waiting list.

Even the humblest of meals - a large pizza delivered from Oslo's most popular pizza joint - will run from $34 to $48, including delivery fee and a 25% value added tax. In Norwegian pubs, anyone rich or insane enough to order a gin and tonic is charged about $15 for a few teaspoons of gin at the bottom of a glass of tonic.

Groceries aren't cheap, either. Every weekend, armies of Norwegians drive to Sweden to stock up at supermarkets that are a bargain only by Norwegian standards. And this isn't a great solution, either, since gasoline (in this oil-exporting nation) costs more than $6 a gallon.

A study by international accounting firm KPMG reported that when disposable income was adjusted for cost of living, Scandinavians were the poorest people in Western Europe.

Read more of the NY Times article "
We're Rich, You're Not. End of Story," (from April 17, 2005)

9 Comments:

At 2/10/2008 11:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Interesting article...but from April of 2005?

 
At 2/10/2008 11:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Frickin Amazing! The authors mother goes to the emergency ward for cough medicine?!

How come Norway has a
GDP - per capita (PPP) of $55,600 (2007 est.)

but the U.S. has a GDP - per capita (PPP) of
$46,000 (2007 est.)

 
At 2/10/2008 11:39 PM, Blogger Rick Ballard said...

One might imagine that the net annual export money of around $12K per capita derived from oil production could have some influence on that number.

 
At 2/11/2008 6:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That's the US's future there you better pay attention, this empire is getting ready for crash landing.

 
At 2/11/2008 8:45 AM, Anonymous Machiavelli999 said...

There is no "crash landing" in US's future in sight. Despite all its tendencies towards protectionism recently, it is still the most free nation, socially and economically, ever in history! That model works.

My god, I can't even imagine what you people would do on October 29, 1929. You would probably jump off a roof....

Oh wait, wait, wait...no, you would do something much worse. You would pass a law to "protect" US businesses like the Smoot-Hawley Tarrif Act (circa. 1930) and send this country further into depression because of your complete lack of economic knowledge.

 
At 2/11/2008 1:08 PM, Anonymous Alex said...

Bawer is quite a facinating writer...a gay liberal who moved to Europe from the United States because he thought he'd find more freedom and tolerance, and ended up disillusioned by reality when he discovered the downsides to the perceived "freedom" and "tolerance" that came with the European welfare states.

To truly appreciate his perspective, you have to go back to the beginning of his journey, and progress through it. He touches on not only the problems with the welfare state, but the media control, false perception of tolerance, the ignorant anti-Americanism and its causes, the corruption, and touches alot on the gradual Islamization of Europe and the dangers presented to not only gay people like himself, but to everyone. I would highly recommend everyone read each one of these articles in order to understand where this guy is coming from, and to appreciate his intellectual evolution as more and more things became clear to him while living in Europe.

The first two give a backgrounder, written when he had only been living in Amsterdam for a year...important to remember that when analyzing their context:
1999: Moving Abroad
1999: Life in a Zealot-Free Zone

Jump to 2004, and his attitude starts to change:
Hating America

First They Came for the Gays

The Peace Racket: An anti-Western movement touts dictators, advocates appeasement—and gains momentum
Islamic Terrorism
Europe's Champion of Liberty
Sending a Grim Message
9/11, Five Years Later: A View from Europe
When Worlds Collide: The tension between radical Islam and European secular values is explored in Murder in Amsterdam
Three Radicals: Inside Europe's Leftist Elite

 
At 2/11/2008 7:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Machiavelli,

You nailed that one. Thanks for the chuckle.

I'm afraid the Lou Dobbs/John Edwards crowd will continue to believe what it likes whatever the data to the contrary.

 
At 11/29/2008 6:01 AM, Anonymous Norwegian said...

This blog and the article in New York Times give a totally wrong picture of Scandinavia..Come visit us and you'll see..

"He touches on not only the problems with the welfare state, but the media control, false perception of tolerance, the ignorant anti-Americanism and its causes, the corruption, and touches alot on the gradual Islamization of Europe and the dangers presented to not only gay people like himself, but to everyone."

Haha, this is like reading a comic book..

ooh..people who think they know it all..

 
At 1/17/2010 9:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Since I am Norwegian as well, I must testfy to the great job the social democrats have done to brainwash the population into believing that Norway is the richest, greatest, best (add your own addjective) country in the world.

Since I have lived half of my life outside Norway, I see a different version. Most Norwegians believe Michael Moore to give the correct view of the world.

 

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